Year-round relief for consumers
COLOMBO: Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake has stressed
that the Cost of Living Interim Committee will meet from time to time to
control the prices of essential commodities thus giving relief to the
Prime Minister Wickremanayake who met the Cost of Living Interim
Committee on Thursday said the escalation of the prices of essential
goods has become unbearable to people who draw a monthly salary.
“Therefore it is the responsibility of the Government to control the
prices of essential commodities, not only during festive seasons but
also at all other times to provide relief to the people,” he said.
A decision was reached at the committee to further supervise and
control the prices of all essential commodities such as potato, onion,
dhal, canned fish, salt and flour.
The Committee also discussed the prices of coconut and decided to
maintain the maximum retail price of a coconut to Rs.20, a spokesman for
the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The committee also laid special emphasis on the present tax imposed
on coconut exports. The Premier stated that “annually the country needs
2.2 billion coconuts for local consumption. Therefore steps should be
taken to prevent a shortage of coconut within the country.”
“It was also revealed that from the country’s total National Income,
9.2 per cent is spent to import foods while 15 per cent is spent on
textile imports. But 20 per cent of National Income is spent to import
palm oil to Sri Lanka. This has led to a crisis.
“Therefore special attention was focused to impose some tax on
imported coconut oil and palm oil or recommend some fixed price on these
two products,” he said.
The Committee also discussed commencing a project to cultivate
potato, onion and chili to provide these essential commodities to the
consumers without any shortage. This project will be jointly implemented
by the State and private sector.
Farms belongs to the Agriculture Department will be utilised for this
The Government intends to purchase 51 per cent of the production
produced by the private sector under this project.
The Government through this project hopes to provide goods to the
people at concessionary rates and uplift the income level of the
employees working in these farms, the spokesman added.
Trade, Co-operative and Consumer Services Minister Bandula
Gunawardene, Plantations Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Fisheries Deputy
Minister Neomal Perera and Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B.
Jayasundara were also participated into this committee meeting.