Responsibility for fuel price hike: We Thoroughly Condemn Blaming Udaya
BY Thameenah Razeek
Leaders of eight constituent parties of the Government yesterday (14) in a joint statement denounced the attempts to solely blame Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila for the recent fuel price hike.
In their joint statement, the party leaders have pointed out that at a difficult time when both people and the Governments around the world are equally suffering, situations may arise where Governments have to take ‘unpopular’ decisions and the recent fuel price hike was one such instance.
“However, we condemn the attempts to put the blame on Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila and to project him as the sole person who is responsible for this ‘unpopular’ decision. It is understood that the decision was reached at a Cabinet SubCommittee headed by the President and had the Prime Minister in attendance. This was also proved by a recent media release issued by the President’s Media Division (PMD),” they noted in the statement.
The joint statement was signed by Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera of the Our People’s Power Party, Minister Wimal Weerawansa of the National Freedom Front, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara of the Democratic Left Front, Prof. Tissa Vitarana (MP) of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, A.L.M. Athaulla (MP) of the National Congress, Dr. G. Weerasinghe (MP) of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Tiran Alles (MP) of the United People’s Party and Asanka Nawarathne of the Sri Lanka People’s Party.
They, in a statement, further pointed out that in this context the recent statement issued by SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariywasam blaming Minister Gammanpila over the fuel price hike has pushed the Government into a compromising situation in the public’s eye.
“Not only that, the SLPP General Secretary by his statement has contested the decisions taken by the President and the Prime Minister thereby has fuelled doubts that there are divisions within the Government ranks,” they noted.
They further claimed that Kariyawasam had questioned the President and Prime Minister's decision, creating concerns about sectarianism within the administration. They stated that such sectarian and immature activities would destroy the public’s faith in the Government, and that it is the obligation of the President and Prime Minister to swiftly combat this sectarian tendency.
"Not only have the citizens of the country suffered greatly, but the country's economy has also suffered greatly, resulting in a crisis. In a circumstance like this, the Government is expected to make 'unpopular decisions'.
As a result, we believe that increasing the fuel price is likewise an unpopular decision. We also believe that low-income families that suffered hardship as a result of the increases should be compensated. We also want to present a recommendation to the President in this regard in the near future," they stated.
The decision to raise petrol prices was made by a Cabinet Subcommittee on Cost of Living, chaired by the President and attended by the Prime Minister, they said in a joint statement.
As a result, they rejected any attempt to hold the Minister of Energy responsible for the 'unpopular' decision to raise fuel prices. In addition, in light of the Presidential Media Unit's confirmation, SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam has stated that the blame for the 'unpopular' decision has been placed on Minister Udaya Gammanpila, putting the Government in an unnecessary crisis before the people.