A media statement issued by Rajapaksa’s media secretary Rohan Welivita said that members of the public would have noticed that the Finance and Media Ministry has been publishing advertisements stating that in 2014, the world price of crude oil was USD 60 and that petrol was being sold at that time at Rs. 157 per litre whereas today in 2018, the price of crude oil is USD 78, and the local price of petrol is Rs. 137 per litre – thereby implying that the price or petrol is lower under the yahapalanaya government than it was under the Rajapaksa government.
However Rajapaksa said that anyone who reads the latest Central Bank report will see that the average price of crude oil imports during the year 2014, was over USD 104 and not USD 60 as claimed in the Finance and Media Ministry advertisements.
“During the last three months of 2014, crude oil prices did start sliding, but because of the high price in the first three quarters of the year, the average price remained at over USD 104. 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,” Rajapaksa said.
He says the the public should also note that even though President Maithripala Sirisena’s Presidential election manifesto said that the taxes on fuel will be removed, the yahapalana Government never removed or reduced taxes on fuel.
“They reduced the price of fuel in 2015, only on the sharp reduction in world crude oil prices that took place after the end of 2014. 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,” he said.
Rajapaksa said that 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,” he said.