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Sunday September 24th, 2023

Sri Lanka egg production to pick up by year end: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s egg production would pick up by year end and there would be no need to import eggs while costs will also fall with taxes on inputs being lowered, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

“There would be no need to import eggs from next year,” Amaraweera said at a press briefing held at the Presidential Media Center on Thursday.

The daily requirement of eggs in the country is 7 million. Amaraweera said by last week local production was up to 6 million eggs.

Sri Lanka’s egg production was devastated by price controls imposed by the Consumer Affair Authority, as chicken feed prices went up amid local forex shortage and a global commodity bubble.

The government had also imposed restrictions on maize imports which poultry farmers use for chicken feed.

The import tax which was at 75 rupees a kilo was later lowered to 25 rupees.

“Under a small and medium scale poultry farm development project, we are looking at producing day-old country chicks, increasing egg production in rural areas and increasing nutrition at a cost of 48 million rupees,” Amaraweera said.

“There are currently over 3,420,000 chickens in farms, and it is expected these animals will lay eggs by December.”

Sri Lanka imposes restrictions on maize imports to give extra profits to maize farmers and collectors, making proteins more expensive, despite malnutrition among children of poor families and stunting.

An over-arching ‘self-sufficiency’ or autarky ideology, involving economic nationalism is also another reason for restrictions on food. As a result of taxes on grain, eggs can be imported at lower prices from other countries and Sri Lankan poultry products miss an export opportunity.

Before the government intervened with price controls leading to the closure of chicken farms, the domestic demand for poultry and eggs were met by the local private sector.

But domestic poultry production dropped by 30 percent and egg production by 50 percent.

Sri Lanka’s annual production before the pandemic and the economic crisis was 230,000 metric tons of chicken. Per capita chicken consumption was estimated to be 11kg a year.

Poultry industrialists say the addition of large numbers of new broiler chickens to farms should bring local poultry and egg production back up to where it was before the crisis by the end of this year. (Colombo/Sept15/2023)

Related stories
Sri Lanka to import more eggs from India after price controls kill chicken

Sri Lanka lowers ‘maize mafia’ tax

Sri Lanka CAA ends egg price control after devastating industry

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Sri Lanka India industrial zone around Trinco, maritime links mooted

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had highlighted the desire of both the Governments to work closely to develop the industrial zone at Trincomalee, after accepting an invitation to participate in a maritime summit.

The Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS) will be held in India from October 17-19, 2023 at Mumbai where Sri Lanka has been invited at a partner country.

At a curtain raiser event on September 22, India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay had said both countries were working on enhancing sea connectivity according to a vision document launched during a recent visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India.

Minister de Silva will lead a delegation from Sri Lanka to the summit.

Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India, T K Ramachandran said the Global Maritime India Summit aims strengthen the Indian maritime economy by promoting global and regional partnerships and facilitating investments.

The event will give an opportunity to the Government of Sri Lanka to attracting greater investment from India in development of its maritime infrastructure, Ramachandran said.

It will also facilitate greater business to business interactions. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka brings back import para tariff on milk

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has brought back an import para tariff called the Ports and Airports Levy, to several grades of milk powder.

Milk powder has been removed from a list of PAL exemptions, making them liable for a 10 percent tax.

The PAL para tariffs are also a contentious issue in terms of export competitiveness, and the government has previously given undertakings that they will be eliminated.

Trade freedoms of the poor figure in an IMF/World bank reform program with the governments.

Milk is a protein rich food, in a country where children of poor families are facing stunting and malnutrition.

Economic nationalism is seen at high levels in food, with several businessmen are pushing for trade protection, amid an overall autarkist (self-sufficiency) ideology, going directly against policies followed in East Asia, which the same as hold up as examples.

Sri Lanka keeps dairy product prices up ostensibly to bring profits to a domestic dairy company and farmers.

Sri Lanka also keeps maize prices up, ostensibly to give profits to farmers and collectors. (Colombo/Sept22/2023)

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Sri Lanka govt warns liquor manufacturers: pay defaulted tax or lose licence

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka government which is struggling to raise the state revenue despite   higher taxes, has warned liquor manufacturers to pay defaulted taxes or lose their licence.

The government is now getting tough with past tax defaulters amid concerns over falling short of this year’s revenue target agreed with the International Monetary Fun (IMF).

“Liquor manufacturing firms owe us 660 crore rupees (6.6 billion rupees),” Siyambalapitiya told  reporters on Thursday (21).

“Most of this or around a third is the only excise tax amount to be paid. The rest is penalty. If a liquor manufacturer does not pay on time, we impose a penalty of 3 percent per month This means 36 percent (penalty) per annum,” he said.

“We have given them deadline to repay the basic excise taxes. If they don’t pay, we will cancel their licence.”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government committed an ambitious revenue target among many other reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return to a $3 billion loan package.

However, the revenue could face a short fall of 100 billion rupees, State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has said.

A new Central Bank Act also has legally prevented the government of printing money at its discretion as  in the past.  (Colombo/September 24/2023)

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