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Rising prices a worldwide phenomenon - Minister Anura Yapa

Rising prices of essential food items is common to whole world. It is beyond our control. However we try to control the prices by distributing essential commodities through the islandwide network of co-operative societies, said Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.

He was addressing a ceremony held to mark the opening of Makandura Co-op City of Sandalankawa Nava MPCS.


Minister of Media and Information Anura Priyadharshana Yapa pays for items he bought from the Makandura Co-op City Super Trade Centre of Sandalankawa Nava MPCS. Picture by H.M. Abeysinghe, Kuliyapitiya group correspondent

The Minister said, co-operative societies have to play a vital role in the process of eliminating the exploitation of the consumers to bring down the cost of living. The rising prices of essential commodities is the inevitable result of the fuel crisis. Even in America the rate of inflation is rising due to that. It is beyond the control of world economy.

He said, oil production is raised to its optimum quantity now but the demand for fuel is rising as more vehicles are used. When the demand is rising and the supply is stable the price rises. That is a simple economic theory.

Now the capitalist countries are producing bio-diesel from cereals. Accordingly the cereals we consume, would be used for running motor vehicles. We must understand that reality.

The Minister said, the inflation caused by the fuel crisis and shortage of cereals could be controlled had we produced essential food items for our consumption doing away with the “from ship to mouth” economy. The Government had launched the grow more food campaign through “Api Wawamu - Rata Nagamu” (Let’s grow and build the country) programme to meet that end.

The surplus production could be distributed among the needy consumers at a reasonable price. That is the only solution for rising prices of essential commodities and control the rising inflation rate.

Wayamba Provincial Minister of Co-operative, Social Welfare, Probation and Childcare, Power and Housing, Piyasiri Ramanayaka said, the President as the Minister of Finance had granted various relief and concessions to the co-operative societies, exempting them from taxes, abolishing loans and granting Rs. 1 million for each MPCS to inaugurate a super trade centre. Co-op cities are those super trade centres inaugurated accordingly. This is the 21st Co-op City opened in Wayamba, and 12 more would follow.

This is the first time in history such a grant was made to the co-operative movement. The societies are expected to make use of such grants to relieve consumers from the burden of rising prices of essential commodities. If it failed that is the fault of the Boards of Directors and executives of the societies.

He added, the co-operative is a people’s movement directed for the elimination of exploitation. The members, directors and employees should bear that in mind.

The Provincial Minister said we in Wayamba had taken steps to increase the salaries of co-operative employees. accordingly, the minimum salary would be Rs. 8,050 per month. For the first time in history co-operative employees in Wayamba would be granted pension rights shortly.

The statute to that effect is already before the Provincial Council. When passed by the Council and sanctioned by the Governor the co-operative employees would receive a pension of 80 per cent of the salary they received at the time of retirement.

Chairman Munendra Witharana, Director Raja Pathirana, General Manager A.M. Leelaratna and Wayamba Provincial Commissioner of Co-Operatives Ms. Kumari Weerasekara also spoke.

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