The comments came in the wake of an upward trend of the international fuel prices with the current world crude oil price (per barrel) standing at more than US$ 75. He said that among the issues considered in deciding on fuel prices would be the cost of fuel import, the operation cost for distribution and the profits gained.
“After monitoring the situation for two months we will make the calculations and decide on the prices applicable for the next two months,” he said. The official said the Government in future would not be able to take the burden on fuel price increases as the losses by subsidizing the fuel had been on the rise.
Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry will seek cabinet approval to increase both, state-run and private bus fares shortly, Deputy Minister Ashoka Abeysinghe said yesterday. To decide the fare increase, bus operators will meet tomorrow with Ministry and the National Transport Commission officials.
On Thursday, petrol (92 Octane) price was increased from Rs. 117 to Rs 137 a litre, Petrol (95 Octane) from 128 to Rs 148, Auto Diesel from Rs. 95 to Rs 109, Super Diesel from Rs. 110 to Rs 119 and Kerosene from Rs. 44 to Rs. 101. Deputy Minister Abeysinghe said they would decide on the fare increase for both state and private bus service at tomorrows’s meeting but the decisions would be implemented only after cabinet approval was obtained on Tuesday. He claimed that if fares were not increased, the SLTB would lose a colossal Rs. 2 billion a year.
Private Bus owners Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said they were complying with the policies of the NTC and asking for a fare increase of ten percent.
Lanka’s oil import bill soaring
Sri Lanka’s fuel import bill is set to rise further due to international tensions, especially in view United States sanction on Iran, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) sources said. With the international prices increasing to more than US$ 75 a barrel the fuel bill is already on the rise. Last year, Sri Lanka’s fuel import bill amounted to Rs 609 billion.
The CPC sources said that though Sri Lanka had not resumed purchase of crude oil from Iran, some of the suppliers to Sri Lanka depended on Iran oil. Last year the average price of crude oil imported by the CPC increased by 24.8 percent to US dollars 57.79 a barrel.