The government will ensure peace and stability is restored in the east before the upcoming local government polls by enforcing the writ of the government in the province, Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said yesterday.
Responding to a question raised by a journalist at the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the information department he said the Commissioner of Elections has held peaceful elections in the east in the recent past despite the presence of armed groups in the province.
The government has been able to achieve an improved credit rating due to its correct financial management and good governance. The most encouraging factor was the improved rating has come about at a time the government is being criticized by the main opposition UNP for poor management, Minister Yapa said, speaking further.
Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development Minister, A.H.M.Fowzie, said the government has saved US$ 2.5 million through hedging.
Sri Lanka will also venture into oil exploration by August next year as a number of countries including China, India and Malaysia have shown interest in exploring oil deposits in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka.`Under the UNP rule between 2002 and 2004, petroleum prices have been increased seven times. They increased the price of a litre of Diesel by Rs. 9 when the international price increased only by 20 cents. It was a 60% increase,` he said.
The government started subsidizing petroleum prices in July 2005. The Treasury has incurred a loss of Rs. 14 billion in the first 14 months since then. In 2005 it amounted to Rs. 21 billion.
This is while the government earns an income of only 1.5% from the selling of petroleum products but the UNP collected a huge income close to 5%. By privatizing the bunkering facilities the UNP government further deprived the government of a good income. After the new refinery is commissioned the government will be in a position to sell petroleum products cheaper, Minister Fowzie said.
Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said the government would take appropriate action about Charles Gnanakone at the right time.
`What we can`t understand is why the UNP becomes vociferous when the secret dealings of Gnanakone are exposed?` he queried.
Minister Abeywardana also said that the names of two Parliamentarians who Gnanakone tried to bribe for US$ one million each would be revealed at the right time.