The government would pass the benefit of fuel price reduction in the global market to the consumer in the next few days after deciding the way it should be done, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.
“Yes, there is a considerable fuel price reduction in the global market. We would for sure pass the benefit to the consumer in a few days but we have not decided on the way it should be done. I expect to appraise the cabinet on the matter and also have a discussion with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa before taking the final decision,” Minister Amaraweera stressed.
He told the media at the Information Department last morning that the government did not want to use the benefits given to the consumer to score a few kudos from the public during the election time but as permanent relief.
“I would like to draw your attention to the major tax concessions given by the Yahapalanaya government and subsequent fuel price reduction. But, it was very clear that the consumer did not get the full benefits of the fuel price reduction. The full benefits were enjoyed by traders, businessmen and third party or the go-betweens in trade. Therefore, the government wants to ensure the consumer gets the full benefit of the fuel price reduction,” he stressed.
Minister Amaraweera said the government had a few options. If the government brings down oil prices in the domestic market, traders would not pass the benefit fully to the consumer as experienced in the past. But if there was a considerable drop in power tariff and transport fare, the benefit would go directly to the consumer. The government will have to do a good analysis of the oil price reduction in the global market and pass the benefit to the consumer in the most appropriate manner.
“The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government does not want to restrict this benefit to a few weeks or months. We expect to maintain it for a few months. The consumer while expecting the relief must also keep in mind that the CPC will have to bear freight charges, the transport costs, tax and other overheads when oil prices are decided. I hope, however, that the benefits of oil price reduction would be a bigger one,” he noted.
Commenting on the emergency power purchases approved by the cabinet recently, Minister Amaraweera said the emergency power purchase to face the current power crisis was an extension of the previous contract and not a new agreement.