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Government Gazette

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 people.

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 project.

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.


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