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PUCSL and CPC trade union question latest petrol price reduction

  • If petrol prices can be reduced, so can diesel: PUCSL Chair
  • Reduction not according to price formula: Ananda Palitha

By Safrah Fazal and Dinitha Rathnayake

 

Following the reductions of petrol prices on Saturday (1), Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said that the Ministry of Power and Energy should have also reduced the price of diesel, as both petroleum products are produced from refined crude oil, while Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) trade union Leader Ananda Palitha claimed the reduction of the prices of petrol was not carried out according to the price formula.

Ratnayake told The Morning yesterday (2): “Refined crude oil is used to produce petrol, diesel, naphtha, and other petroleum products. So if petrol prices are reduced, why can’t they do the same for diesel? What’s the rationale behind this? Petrol is supposed to be more expensive than diesel.”

Speaking further on the price reductions, where 92-Octane petrol was reduced by Rs. 40 per litre and 95-Octane petrol was reduced by Rs. 30 per litre, Ratnayake charged: “They offered a Rs. 30 reduction per litre of 95-Octane petrol, through which they make a profit of about Rs. 150 per litre according to Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera’s tweets. In terms of 92-Octane petrol, they have reduced the price of a litre by Rs. 40. They are offering a Rs. 40 reduction for the type of petrol that makes less money.

“The price they pay for 92-Octane is higher than 95-Octane. Why do they import 92 when they can get 95 for cheaper?” Ratnayake further questioned, adding that the fuel pricing formula followed by the Ministry was “a flop”.

“If you look at the tweet of the subject minister on the fuel pricing formula, you can see that it’s a flop. It’s completely misleading. There are many errors. They pay more for 92-Octane petrol than for 95-Octane. There are many miscalculations.”

Meanwhile, speaking to The Morning, Ananda Palitha said that the CPC has reduced the prices of petrol due to political influence and for the benefit of the companies incorporated with the system.

“What about the price reduction of diesel and kerosene?” Palitha queried.

He claimed that the price of a litre of kerosene can be reduced by Rs. 107 and that petrol was only reduced by Rs. 30-40 when it could be reduced by a margin of more than Rs. 100.

“At the moment, a barrel of 92-Octane is around $ 122 in the international market and a barrel of 95-Octane is around $ 104, so why can’t we buy 95-Octane instead of 92-Octane?” he asked.

Attempts to contact Minister Wijesekera yesterday (2) proved futile.

When The Morning contacted an official from the Ministry of Power and Energy in this regard, the official stated that diesel prices cannot be reduced at the moment as per the fuel pricing formula. 

“We tweeted the fuel pricing formula early last week. The price of petrol was reduced according to that. There was no large profit for diesel, which is why we are not in a position to reduce it. If anyone has an issue with the fuel pricing formula, they are free to take it to the courts,” the official responded.