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The new pricing fuel formula that the government said would be ready in January, 2016 will be delayed as discussions on the matter have been pushed back, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Anoma Gamage said.

However, Gamage refuted allegations by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Vijitha Herath that the government charges extra on fuel sales even after all due taxes and operational costs. The Deputy Minister stressed that the government still runs on losses, but provides subsidies for the public to make their lives easier.

JVP MP Herath told media on Wednesday that government charges Rs.16 extra from a litre of diesel while a litre could be sold at Rs.79 instead of Rs.95. MP explained that the irony is IOC imports and sells 20 million liters of diesel monthly making an undue profit of Rs.32 million monthly affecting the ‘innocent citizens of this country.’

“The pledges by both the governments to make a proper price formula for fuel have been neglected and they, at least, don’t show a genuine need of making a transparent system on fuel prices,” JVP’s Herath added.

When questioned on this, Deputy Minister Gamage said the previous price formula had ‘issues’ and the government was working on a new price formula. She also admitted that they were unable to meet the deadline which subject minister Chandima Weerakkody had earlier assured Parliament. Minister Weerakkody had told the House that the new formula will be ready by January, 2016. However, Deputy Minister said that Minister Weerakkody is abroad and the next meeting over the topic will take place only in January, but a date was yet to be fixed. “Such a meeting should be represented by the Finance Ministry, Petroleum Ministry, Treasury officials and several other parties,” she added.

MP Herath also said that the price of a barrel of crude oil has come down drastically and it is around US $ 36 at present. “The government must transfer that benefit to the citizens and that is the duty of the government,” he said.

“Plans by every government to expand the services of Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery have been limited only for discussions and documents. We can only see a number of foundation stones in the premises,”’ the MP claimed.