ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s price control agency said it had conducted raids around the country and will take 52 shop owners to court for selling rice above controlled prices.
The Consumer Affairs Authority said there were 13 raids in Colombo, 10 in Kurunegala, 08 in Anuradhapura, 10 in Vavuniya, and 06 each in Polonnaruwa and Kegalle.
Sri Lanka imposed price controls on imported rice and also domestically produced rice, after a drought reduced production.
Sri Lanka’s rice prices are higher than the region due to import duties.
The Finance Ministry cut import duties on rice to 5 rupees a kilo to help increase the flow of rice and bring down prices.
Price controls however usually creates black markets. Shopkeepers who bought rice at higher wholesale prices have to sell at a loss to conform to price controls.
Sri Lanka has slipped in the Index of Economic Freedom for 2017 compiled by US based Heritage Foundation and has also failed to attract higher volumes of foreign direct investment. (Colombo/Feb21/2017)