Fleecing the public through fuel price manipulation
Posted on July 12th, 2018

Mahinda Rajapaksa Former President of Sri Lanka

Fuel prices have been increased yet again within a period of about eight weeks – a situation we have never experienced earlier. Now the price of petrol is Rs. 145 and diesel Rs. 118 while today’s price of crude oil in the world market is around USD 74 per barrel. In 2008, when Sri Lanka was buying crude oil at the much higher rate of USD 97 a barrel, petrol was sold at Rs. 120 and diesel at Rs 70. During the nine years in which we ruled the country, world crude oil prices were always high. According to the Central Bank reports, when I first assumed office as President back in November 2005, crude oil was imported to Sri Lanka at around USD 73 per barrel. Thereafter the price of crude oil increased steadily and during the last four years of my government, in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, the average price of crude oil imports was over USD 109 per barrel. Hence the present crude oil price of USD 78 is very low compared to the prices that prevailed when we were in power.

The government should explain to the public why the retail price of fuel is disproportionately high today. The latest price increase is being justified in terms of a price formula which nobody has seen. It is quite clear that this government is aiming to collect more tax revenue from fuel by increasing and reducing fuel prices frequently so that at the end of the year, more revenue would have been collected from consumers. This kind of price manipulation is a standard practice in the large scale retail industry. The public should also take note of the devious manner in which the government implemented the fuel price increase. The Indian Oil Company was first allowed to increase their prices while the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation held back. After a few days when the people had reconciled themselves to a fuel price increase, the government increased the prices at the CPC stations as well. They sought to diffuse public outrage by such means. Such practices are all part of a government strategy to fleece the public through the manipulation of fuel prices.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Former President of Sri Lanka

10 Responses to “Fleecing the public through fuel price manipulation”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    True. However, there is a reason for very high taxes. After 2011, almost all state revenue goes to repay loans and interest. No money to pay 1.2 million public servants, run hospitals, provincial councils, schools, etc. This money was borrowed. This is called the debt trap. This eased in 2017 to 80% – that is 80% of state revenue goes to repay loans and interest. But that was achieved by increasing taxes. Sri Lanka has a choice – destroy the present day with high taxes or destroy the future with low taxes (and high borrowings). Between the two, the former is the lesser evil.

    Mahinda should clearly state how he plans to earn the state revenue lost when taxes are reduced. So far he failed to say it. Whatever it is, our loan holders are not going to forego repayment and interest. They want it.

    The only way is to reduce state expenditure. Abolish provincial councils, drastically scale down LG bodies, reduce corruption, limit Cabinet to 25, stop car permits to MPs, impose a tax of 1000% on luxury car brands (import and use) and abolish executive presidency. I wish Mahinda promises these.

  2. Randeniyage Says:

    Quoting Dilrook ” The only way is to reduce state expenditure. Abolish provincial councils, drastically scale down LG bodies, reduce corruption, limit Cabinet to 25, stop car permits to MPs, impose a tax of 1000% on luxury car brands (import and use) ”
    Only one candidate has promised this. He is not a politician.

  3. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Randeniyage

    If you say Only one candidate has promised this, we know who is he. He is Naganatha and his support Sugandika. This guy when he left Sri Lanka and migrated UK, he started writing to Lankaweb.He has worked for the customs and at that time he was genuinely against corruptions specially related to importation of goods by politicians.

    Then he got his qualification here in England and then he started to change his political view abruptly by starting to criticise the Judiciary system in Sri Lanka apparently to take revenge for not supporting his argument in number of politically biased high flying cases by the judiciary.

    He and Sugandika are not genuine patriots, but puppets assigned by the Western reactionary forces to discredit our judiciary so that they can pave way for assignment of foreign judges in Sri Lanka.

    Don’t fall into this well financed propaganda drive that can create split among Sinhala.

  4. Ratanapala Says:

    Nagananda Kodituwakku is a red herring to divert attention from the patriotic political process taking place in Sri Lanka and put it into disarray.

    He doesn’t have the chance of a snowball in hell becoming somebody in the political process. However he can make enough damage to the final outcome by being a fifth column in the political dispensation.

    He must be treated with utmost caution and relegated to the dustbin of wannabe distractors; same as Pa Cha Ranawaka and Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

    Saadharana Samajayak, Wenasa, Yahapalanaya, Lichchavi Palanayak, Maithree Palanayak – all have proven to be just mere hollow words with no core principles or a definite programme. They have proven to be just machinations of the Christian West for regime change and nothing else.

    Sri Lanka has to change from what it is now to something better. Anything better is better than what it is right now. This is what was mentioned by Ven Upali of the Asgiriya Chapter asking Gotabhaya to even become a Hitler if nothing is possible to change the current direction the nation is being taken by the Jada Palanaya. What is required is a conscious change of direction and then to make the climb according to the natural law – One Step Behind, the Other Before!

    For this we need a statesman and a natural leader who is able to take this historical task and lead the nation with authority and example.

  5. Randeniyage Says:

    Neela,
    I trust your knowledge. I will never trust anyone but policies.
    I am wondering why NO ONE ELSE come up with these important suggestions which are the best for the country.

    1. Why giving cars to politicians just to sell back and earn 20-30 million in one goal ?
    2. Why can’t anyone remove 13A right now ? ( Listen to Vigneshwaran who was the backbone of post 2009 reconcilliation).
    3. Why can’t we have a normal cabinet ( without have so many “state ministers”, “deputies” and “secretaries”)

    These are very important proposals any “patriotic” should insist right now. If not , they aren’t patriots but pretenders. Leave aside Nagananda, why should be fall into this existing well of making people to believe current politicians based on the assumption they are “patriots” ?

  6. Dilrook Says:

    Unless these drastic measures are taken, Sri Lanka will soon become ungovernable. People will protest and governments will kill them. If UNP is in power, human rights jokers and foreign governments will turn away. If any other party is in power they will impose economic sanctions, hunt them down, do R2P and invade.

    I wish Nagananda contests the presidential election. If he is politically weak, he will realise it and go silent. If he is a kingmaker, then that means a sizable percentage of people prefer his policies. Either way, good outcomes.

    For the sake of the nation, at least one candidate who promises to abrogate 13A, Mattala sale and Hambantota sale must contest. Otherwise the 2019 presidential election is a cesspit election with no usefulness for the nation or the people.

    Most likely it will not produce a clear winner (>50%). Counting second preferences cannot determine a winner unless one has come very close to 50%. Most UNP voters (minorities) will not give the SLPP candidate the second preference. A re-run between the top two has to be done. That is when smaller contestants become kingmakers. All this can be avoided if a major candidate promises these not letting anyone else hijack them.

  7. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Randeniyage

    1.Why giving cars to politicians just to sell back and earn 20-30 million. -Car permits are also given to doctors, Engineers and government executives like directors and secretaries etc. It is not a major crime if they sell it and use an old car. In fact I know some of the poor doctors use that surplus money to build their own house instead.

    2.Why can’t anyone remove 13A right now ? I don’t think any politician will take a risk of abolishing existence of second and third level politicians by removing provincial and local councils. Parliament candidates are solely depending on vote bank provided by these provincial and local councillors. Only option we have is to reduce the number and amalgamate these two levels with one single local councils like in England or in Australia.

    3.Why can’t we have a normal cabinet ?-This is a typical problem associated with a hung parliament. Our elections will never produce a stable one party government with enough majority to form a government and will always ended up in a pre election or post election coalition where there is going to be a high demand for ministerial posts in exchange of their support. 20th Amendment will even make it impossible for parliament to elect a executive president without help from minor parties like JVP,TULF or Muslim MPs.JVP or TULF will be the king makers.

    That is the reality. Don’t you think that we will be able to come out of this mess ever.

  8. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Dilrook

    Nagananda can be a hero for someone living in US. But for the majority Sri lankans, he is a joker. If he contests, he might get no more than 1% votes. With all these publicity and popularity maximum JVP can get is around 3%.

    I agree with Ratnapala, It is utter waste of time if we talk about Naganada.

  9. Dilrook Says:

    @Neela

    If true, he is way off the mark in his expectations. Best thing is for him to get the message via the voters at a presidential election. Then he will go back to the UK.

  10. Randeniyage Says:

    There is another man ( a businessman) saying he too is contesting.
    If people keep rejecting all new comers who really want to do something, yes, our country cannot come out of this hell. If we compare with a country who has same per capita GDP , take Indonesia with similar GDP per capita in 2008 and by 2015 they overtaken us. It is the worse country I can think of but still better than us.
    As long as people are complacent to corruption, luxury to politicians and no one has political will to get rid of wastage due to 13A, we are doomed, whoever comes to power ( with current lot) and in fact getting worse.

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