Tricky Position

Nov 28, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s supreme court said petroleum minister A H M Fowzie should be removed, in a case where controversial oil hedges by a state-run petro firm were challenged in a public interest petition.

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The court ruled Friday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa should take over the petroleum ministry from Fowzie.

The ruling also said that the government should consult with the petitioners before the next date and come up with a reasonable tax formula for the retail pricing of petrol.

The court ruling was in response to public interest petitions filed by Ravi Karunanayake, a parliamentarian of the main opposition United National Party and a former trade minister, and also by Laugfs, a liquid petroleum gas retailer.

Critics have blamed high domestic retail fuel prices on excessive taxes charged by the government.