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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Sri Lanka to lease state land for commercial maize growing after banning imports

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is to lease 2,750 acres of state land (1,123 hectares) to investors to grow maize in a commercial scale after banning its imports in yet another drive to ‘save foreign exchange’ instead of reforming the country’s money printing central bank.

“The government has taken measures to limit imports of food crops that have been recognized for cultivation within the country with the objective of controlling unnecessary influx (sic) of foreign exchange abroad,” a government statement said.

“Accordingly import of maize has been suspended.”

There was a need to produce about 250,000 metric tonnes for Thriposha (a nutritional supplement for children distributed by the state) the government said, without giving a period.

Authorities have identified 2,750 acres of land coming under Rambakan Oya project zone coming under the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority which are not in any forest reserve which are now ‘underutilized’.

The lands will be given to investors to for the large-scale production of maize locally.

The Cabinet of Ministers had approved a proposal by the Minister of Irrigation to lease the land for one year to ‘recognized local investors’.

Based on the progress of cultivation they will be given the land on a long term lease based on the Crown Lands Ordinance.

The restriction of various foods, licensing as well as the frequent changes of taxes has come fire for raising prices, giving excess profits to rent seeking Mercantilists (a so-called the collector mafia who also cultivate in commercial scale) and contributing to protein malnutrition and stunting of children.

The so-called maize mafia has been squeezing poultry farmers for decades.

Related Maize ‘mafia’ squeezes Sri Lanka poultry farmers with import bans, duties

Sri Lanka to probe domestic maize collector racket

Various import substitution businesses (now referred to as cronies) have cropped in various sectors who are selling goods at high prices and earning large profits, under cover of foreign exchange shortage created by money printing. (Colombo/Feb07/2021)

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Sri Lanka to introduce social security system: minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Labour minister has said that they are set to introduce a comprehensive national social security system, covering all workers.

“The system will address the weaknesses of the current system and provide much-needed support to workers and their families,” Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment said on X (formerly known as Twitter).
He did not specify the details.

Nanayakkara also spoke of the need for robust social security when he met with exporters last week to discuss labor law reforms, boosting female workforce participation and attracting FDI.

Sri Lanka plans to reform labour laws for an export-oriented economy.

The pandemic and the economic crisis highlighted the need to improve the coverage of social security.

Studies have shown that Sri Lanka’s women are kept out of formal employment by childcare, elderly care and housework, as day care and elderly homes are either too expensive or too few.

The government imposed a Social Security Contribution Levy to increase its revenue last year. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s stocks up in trading on Wednesday morning

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka shares were picking up in trading on Wednesday morning.

Turnover was at 50 million. Trading in the Capital Goods Industry Group was driving turnover.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.37 percent or 41.78 points to 11,289.94, while the S&P SL20 was also up 0.68 percent or 21.66 points to 3,187.65.

Hatton National Bank, Commercial Bank and LOLC saw gains in morning trade, while Tokyo cement and Lanka Hospitals were trading down during morning trading. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee opens at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar, bond yields stable

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 323.50/324.10 to the US dollar on Wednesday, after closing on Tuesday at 323.70/324.20 to the US dollar, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 was quoted at 15.50/70 percent on Wednesday up from Tuesday’s close at 15.45/65 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 was quoted at 14.50/55 percent from closing at Tuesday at 14.30/55 percent. (Colombo/Sep27/2023)

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