No reason to delay reducing fuel prices: JVP

ECONOMYNEXT – The government has failed to decrease fuel prices when it could’ve easily matched the dramatic drop in prices globally without any impact on state revenue, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said.

Former JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath told reporters this morning that petrol can be sold at Rs 100 to 105 a litre and diesel around Rs 90 a litre without incurring any losses.

Minister of Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera said earlier this week that Sri Lanka is considering a cut in retail fuel tariffs after international oil prices crashed in the face of a global coronavirus epidemic. Former MP Hearth noted that this reduction in prices has yet to materialise.

“The economy is facing a crisis situation with the novel coronavirus, and bringing down fuel prices can help,” he said.

Over the past three months, said Hearth, oil prices have come down, with a rapid drop over the past two weeks. Since import costs have now come down, and since there has been no change in transport costs and tariffs, he said, there is no reason for the government to not decrease fuel prices.

“This can be done without changing tariff or CPC (Ceylon Petroleum Corporation) revenue by even a percentage point,” he said.

The JVP propaganda secretary also dismissed arguments that existing prices are maintained to recover past CPC losses.

“In that case, we’ll never be able to do this. Petrol would have to be sold at Rs 1,000 a litre,” he said.

The former MP reiterated that there was simply no reason for the government to delay decreasing prices.

“If this benefit was given to the people, transport costs would drop, which would in turn lead to a drop in prices of goods and services. At a time of high inflation, this could’ve helped reduce people’s daily expenses,” he said. (Colombo/Mar11/2020)

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