Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said he announced the fuel price hike with the concurrence of the President, Prime Minister and senior Cabinet and frontline ministers.  

‘I was simply presenting the decision which was taken by them to increase prices’, said Mr. Gammanpila at a press briefing a short while ago in his ministry. ‘Historically, it has been the Finance Minister who has made such announcements.  But in this case, I volunteered to do it’.

Mr. Gammanpila explained that the decision to increase fuel prices was taken after three rounds of discussions between members of a sub -committee which was set up to look into the matter.  

The sub-committee was headed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and ministersWimal Weerawansa, Douglas Devananda, Dullas Allahaperuma, Prasanna Ranatunga, Rohitha Abeygoonewardene and UdayaGammanpila. Following the decision it took on the 12th of May to increase prices, he said it fell on him to inform President Gotabaya Rajapakseabout it. The matter had then been discussed further on 9th June by the sub -committee on the Cost of Living which included the President and Prime Minister and ministers BandulaGunewardene, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Namal Rajapakse, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Udaya Gammanpila and Ajith Nivard Cabraal.


Mr. Gammanpila confirmed that in keeping with statutory requirements, the Prime Minister had approved the decision in writing on 10th June and when he made the announcement about the price hike, Ajith Nivard Cabraal was seated next to him.

Explaining the rationale for the price hike, Mr. Gammanpila said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had incurred a debt of 39 billion rupees by selling fuel at subsidized rates and that it owed 60 billion rupees to State banks. ‘This is destabilizing these banks and the Central Bank wrote to the Treasury to increase fuel prices’.

Soon after the announcement about the price hike, the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Sagara Kariyawasamreleased a statement claiming the price increase was done without the consent of the Prime Minister.  

This is one more episode in a litany of embarrassing moments the government has been at the centre of in recent days. Earlier in the week it confused the public with contradictory messages about the use of stickers to travel when travel restrictions are in place and whether or not travel restrictions will be extended beyond 14th June.  

The Opposition has called for an immediate restoration of fuel prices to what it was before the announcement was made.


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