Ministers take differing positions on fuel prices


by Zacki Jabbar

Two senior Ministers have come up with conflicting positions on whether fuel prices would be reduced, in keeping with a big drop in world market oil prices.

Information and Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at  last Thursday’s Cabinet Press Briefing, that fuel prices would not be slashed for a year, even if crude oil prices fell further. But Transport  Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told a news conference in Colombo the following day, that people expected some relief in keeping with global trends.

Amaraweera assured that he would speak to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with a view to reducing fuel prices, so that it would have a knock-on effect on other essential goods and services.

The main international benchmark, Brent Crude has fallen from around USD 60 per barrel to below USD 27 within a  week, due to the  Coronavirus induced drop in demand, coupled with the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The International Energy Agency which advises oil importing nations on energy policy, now expects the first annual drop in oil demand since 2009, as the global economy tips into recession.

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