Black Market

Nov 03, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state is operating a black market taking an estimated 54 billion rupees a year in profits and discriminatory taxes from petrol users, an opposition parliamentarian has said.

Ravi Karunanayake, a member of the opposition United National Party told reporters the landed cost of petrol in Colombo, including freight and insurance was only 28 rupees and 30 cents.

Fleecing

But petrol is retailed at 142 rupees. Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) charged more than 70 rupees in taxes and kept about 40 rupees in pure profits, he said.

Fuel is distributed by both CPC and Lanka IOC. CPC refines about a half of its products and it escapes some of the taxes that are charged on Lanka IOC.

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court last week ordered the Treasury to talk with Karunanayake, who had gone to court over pricing, to come up with a reasonable level of taxes.

“Even the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court was surprised that from the retail price of 142 rupees per litre of petrol 72 rupees were charged as indirect taxes from the public. These taxes go directly to the government’s kitty,” says Karunanayake.

“One can assume that the CPC