Legendary environmentalist to speak to Lankans on June 17 under the umbrella of WNPS – The Island
… calls into question Kariyawasam’s agenda: the president sets the record straight
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday (13) at a hastily organized press conference at his ministry that the economy was in such bad shape that the government could not have delayed the review further. rising fuel prices.
Lawyer Gammanpila revealed that the Central Bank in a letter dated May 31 strongly advised the Treasury to increase fuel prices or suffer the consequences.
Minister Gammanpila, who is also the head of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, stressed that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, had authorized the price increase.
Minister Gammanpila said so in response to the scathing attack by SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam over the price increase.
Kariyawasam, in a statement issued on behalf of the SLPP, questioned Minister Gammanpila’s motives. The National List MP went so far as to question whether Minister Gammanpila was pursuing a hidden agenda to undermine the SLPP and its leadership.
Shortly after the conclusion of Minister Udaya Gammanpila’s press conference yesterday, the presidential secretariat issued a statement explaining the circumstances that led to the rise in fuel prices. The statement essentially endorsed the views expressed by Minister Gammanpila during the briefing.
The Presidential Secretariat explained that the main reason for the price hike was that the CPC owed a staggering amount of Rs 652 to the Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank while the CEB owed Rs 85 billion to the same banks.
Minister Gammanpila told media that if Kariyawasam had made a statement as an MP, he would have ignored it. However, the issues raised on behalf of the SLPP could not be ignored, Minister Gammanpila said, revealing that he announced the price increase on June 11 following a committee chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that had decided to move on June 09.
According to Minister Gammanpila, the committee was made up of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Commerce Bandula Gunawadena, Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of Energy Dullas Alaaderuma, Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa and Ministers of State Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Lasantha Alagiyawanna and himself.
Minister Gammanpila said that before making the announcement, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gave his written approval for the increase. Referring to the letter from MP Kariyawasam demanding the immediate resignation of Minister Gammanpila following the rise in fuel prices, the PHU chief stressed that this was a government decision.
Gammanpila said the secretary general of the SLPP should not blame him for a collective decision made by a committee headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. After explaining the financial crisis that was caused by growing losses due to fuel undervaluation, Minister Gammanpila said he was able to prevent fuel price increases on three occasions by approaching the Treasury since he became Minister of Energy. However, the Treasury had ruled out interventions in the current situation, Minister Gammanpila said, saying the accumulation of losses was weighing very heavily on the banking sector. Stating that the Petroleum Corporation owed banks more than Rs.600 billion, Minister Gammanpila warned of a possible collapse of the banking sector if corrective action is not taken.
Responding to a question, Minister Gammanpila said he volunteered to make the announcement at his own expense as he wanted to save President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to the PHU leader, Minister of State Cabraal attended his press briefing as a representative of Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa. In fact, MP Kariyawasam lambasted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa by issuing a statement. Therefore, the question arose as to who should accept responsibility for totally unnecessary development and step down.
MP Kariyawasam did not answer his cell phone.
Claiming that SLPP leader Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and its chairman Professor GL Peiris had not been aware of Kariyawasam’s missive, Minister Gammanpila asked who authorized the MP to issue such a statement.
Minister Gammanpila sidestepped the question of whether SLPP strategist Basil Rajapaksa was behind the move. A smiling minister Gammanpila said Basil Rajapaksa was not behind him. The minister wanted the media to talk about it with lawmaker Kariyasawam.
Responding to another question, Minister Gammanpila questioned the justification for Kariyawasam’s actions, while referring to the SLPP general secretary who had previously clashed with National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa over the latter. urging the SLPP to welcome President Gotabaya Rajapaksa into the party decision-making process.
Minister Gammanpila said that five years ago the public did not know who Sagara Kariyawasam was. However, as a result of the Kariyawasam battle with Minister Weerawansa, people got to know him. “My mother, a retired director, asked me who Sagara Kariyawasam was after asking for the resignation of Minister Weerawansa,” lawmaker Gammanpila said.
Minister Gammanpila said Kariyawasam’s goals should be reviewed. The minister declined to reveal what President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told him after the SLPP general secretary called for his resignation.
Minister Gammanpila vigorously defended the decision to increase fuel prices regardless of the difficulties faced by the population.