Direct cash subsidy for Kerosene dependents

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With kerosene prices now high, the Government has proposed a direct cash subsidy to low-income families, fisheries and plantation industries that rely on kerosene.

Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara said, kerosene price revision has been required for many years and that selling at subsidised prices is one of the main reasons for Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) losses.

According to a Ministry spokesman, the proposal to provide a direct cash subsidy to low-income families, fisheries and plantation sectors that rely on kerosene will be submitted to the Cabinet, and distribution will  commence after Cabinet approval.

When asked why the CPC decided to raise prices by more than Rs 200, he said that the CPC had been unable to raise kerosene prices for years, resulting in an unsustainable loss to the government.

On 21 August, the CPC decided to increase the price of a litre of kerosene by Rs 253. The new prices are currently in effect. The previous price of kerosene was Rs 87 per litre, and the new price will be Rs 340 . As a result, the price of kerosene in Sri Lanka has increased by approximately 291 per cent.

Meanwhile, the kerosene price increase has affected several segments in society including those in the urban class, estate sector and those in the fisheries sphere, trade unions stressed.

Several representatives from fisheries community trade unions stated that due to the unjust hike in price over 300,000 persons who are directly engaged in the industry have been forced to opt out of their livelihood with no other alternative in sight.

BY Thameenah Razeek