Heavy Load

The Treasury says it has forked out Rs. 6 bn todate to subsidise essential items like petroleum, wheat, flour, fertilizer and sugar.
The lion share of the subsidies is channeled towards petroleum imports, Treasury Secretary, Dr. P B Jayasundara said.rn

rnSri Lanka imports all its oil needs, buying 2.0 mn MT of crude and 1.5 mn MT of refined products, with demand growing at eight percent a year. rn

rnBut spiralling oil prices has also meant that the import bill has been upped from US$ 750 mn a year ago to US$ 1.2 bn todate.rn

rnJayasundara told reporters on Thursday that fuel subsidies alone will cost the Exchequer Rs. 8 bn this year, if crude oil prices hover around US$ 41 per barrel.rn

rnFinance Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama said the government lost Rs. 963 mn this year, on partial duty waivers given to sugar, lentils and wheat during the period Jan-Apr.rn

rn”Subsidies are not given out to attract votes. We have to decide between passing on the higher increase, or shielding the public so th