Sri Lanka bus operators want tariff hike to account for central bank actions

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s private bus operators need an overall fare hike to account for currency depreciation and the rise in a consumer price index, Lanka Private Bus Owner’s Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said after the latest diesel price hike.

“We will have to go for the Annual Revision based on several different factors, including the Colombo Consumers Price Index and the dollar rate,” Wijeratne told EconomyNext on June 26.

Recent price hikes were only based on the fuel price hikes, he said.

Inflation and currency depreciation is caused by the central bank of Sri Lanka.

The agency was set up in 1950 with the power to create balance of payments trouble and high inflation by printing money in the process of giving ‘monetary policy independence’ to a group of persons called the Monetary Board at the expense of the welfare of nation.

Global fuel and food prices have also moved up due to so-called Powell Bubble triggered by the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

“I can’t say how much the price will increase, because that is up to the National Transport Commission,” Wijeratne said, referring to the regulator who approves price hikes based on a formula.

Wijeratne said price hikes would be ‘hard to bear’ for passengers and blamed politicians for the inflation.

“It’s already unbearable, and it’s unfair on them,” he said. “It’s a pitiful situation, but we have no choice. We have to pay for the sins of loss making organizations like the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, we have no choice.

“Politicians have to take responsibility for these hardships.”

Wijeratne stated that only around 10 percent of buses were currently in operation due to the unavailability of fuel.

The Power and Energy Ministry has said private buses were allowed to refuel at state-run Sri Lanka Transport Board depots, but Wijeratne said many buses were on fuel queues.


Sri Lanka facing virtual standstill after fuel shipment delay

“A lot of bus drivers are on strike. They don’t have fuel and can’t run,” said Wijeratne.

Sri Lanka’s schools, which were closed due to the fuel crisis will reopen for three days next week, even as the crisis continues. (Colombo/Jun26/2022)

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