The Government has lied about the prices of crude oil and petrol sold locally in 2014 and 2018, the Media Unit of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa claims.
Rohan Welivita, Media Secretary to Mahinda Rajapaksa, has claimed in a media release that newspaper advertisements taken by the Finance and Media Ministry (at taxpayers’ expense) are erroneous.
‘The Ministry states that the world price of crude oil in 2014 was USD 60 when in fact even the latest Central Bank reports show that the average price of crude oil imports in that year was over USD 104,’ Welivita claims. Although admitting that crude oil prices did slide in the last three months of 2014, the high price in the first three quarters meant that the average exceeded USD 104, he argues.
Welivita further states:
“As the Central Bank reports show, during the last four years of the Rajapaksa government, in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, the average price of crude oil imports was over USD 109. But by the time the present government came into power in January 2015, the oil price had suddenly gone down to USD 51 and it went down further during the past three years. It is only after around October 2017 that crude oil prices began rising again to reach USD 70+ today. The Ministry of Finance and Media is lying to the public in claiming that the price of crude oil was USD 60 in 2014. The people should note that taxpayers’ money is being used to carry out the false political propaganda of the yahapalana government.”
He adds that although President Maithripala Sirisena promised in his election manifesto that taxes on fuel will be removed, this was never done.
“Central Bank Reports show that during the Rajapaksa government, crude oil was imported to Sri Lanka at an average price of about USD 80 only as far back as 2010. Back in 2010 the retail price of petrol was Rs. 115, diesel Rs. 73 and kerosene Rs. 51. So people will see that the yahapalana government is selling fuel at prices far in excess of what is warranted by the present world market price of crude oil.”
“When the Indian oil company recently increased the price of petrol by Rs. 9, the government increased the price by more than twice that amount. Not only is the yahapalana government levying a massive tax on fuel, they are making a significant profit on the difference between the world market price of crude oil and the retail price of fuel as well. Thus the people are being made to pay the cost of keeping the yahapalana government afloat.”