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Tuesday April 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka to lift undu import ban to meet local demand in festival period

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will lift its protectionist import ban on undu (black gram, vigna mungu) to bring in 2,000 metric tonnes to meet seasonal demand, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

“The ban will be lifted temporarily to import 2,000 metric tonnes to meet seasonal demand during the Sinhala Hindu new year period,” Gunawardena said. “We want to ensure there is no shortage for those who use it, and they can obtain it at a fair price.”

Taxes will be applicable, he said.

Sri Lanka’s annual undu requirement is 20,000 metric tonnes, Gunawardena said, adding that local producers can’t meet this demand.

This has led to shortages, and black market prices especially around festival seasons in April and December.

Imports will be subject to the Special Commodity Levy under the 2007 No 48 Special Commodity Act, the minister said.

Undu will be imported through the Sri Lanka State Trading (General) Corporation, National Food Promotion Board, and the Hadabima Authority of Sri Lanka.

Related story
Sri Lanka’s ulundu corruption driven by nationalist autarky mafia under fire

Protectionist taxes to give unfair profits to import substituting domestic producers have tended to drive smuggling, under in-voicing and corruption of customs authorities.

Sri Lanka’s smuggling of ulundu (vigna mungu) triggered by import controls and high taxes initiated in a nationalist autarky drive have come under fire from opposition legislators representing the minority community.

“Today a kilogram of ulundu is about 1,500 rupees. Ulundu can be bought from India for the equivalent of 200 Sri Lanka rupees. When you tax it can be sold for 400 to 450 rupees. Freight cost is about 10 rupees,” opposition Chanakyan Rasamanikkam told parliament during the December holiday season.

“If you look at people who eat ulundu it is in the North and East and Tamil people estate areas. All over the country there are people who eat ulundu and green gram. By blocking the import of these cereals a mafia has arisen.” (Colombo/Apr2/2024)

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Iran President to open Sri Lanka $514mn irrigation, hydro power project

MULTIPURPOSE: Uma Oya multipurpose development project is the largest since the end of the Mahaweli projects.

ECONOMYNEXT – Iran President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate an irrigation and hydropower project that was designed and built by Iranian engineering firm and was also initially financed before international sanctions hit the project.

The Uma Oya (River) project will irrigate 4,500 acres of new agricultural land, generate 290 Gigawatt hours of electricity and also provide drinking water, a government statement said.

Sri Lanka had awarded an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) to Iran’s FARAB engineering group to design and construct the 514 million dollar multipurpose project in 2010.

The project was funded until 2013 with a million US dollar credit from the Export Development Bank of Iran but international sanctions prevented the country from continuing financing, a government statement said.

The project continued with funding from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka had since repaid 19.3 million dollars of the credit and 35.2 million remains outstanding.

The Uma Oya project has a 120MW of hydro power generators, which can generate 290 Giga Watt hours of energy.

Each year 145 million cubic metres of water will be taken from Uma Oya to the Kirindi Oya river valley after generating electricity in an underground power station.

It will irrigate 1,500 hectares of existing agricultural and 4,500 hectares of new land in the Moneragala district, where crops can be cultivated in both the Maha and Yala seasons.

About 39 million cubic meters of water will be used for drinking and industrial purposes.

Two reservoirs built at Dyraaba and Puhulpola in Uma Oya basin is connected by a 3.98 kilometre conveyance tunnel and water is taken through a 15.2 kilomtre headrace tunnel to an underground power station. A tailrace tunnel takes water from the power station to the Kirindi Oya basin.

The project was originally expected to be completed in 2015, but due to financing delays and later water leaking into the headrace tunnel and the Covid pandemic had delayed it. The project completion date was extended to March 31, 2024 and defect liability date to March 31, 2025.

(Colombo/April23/2024 – CORRECTED Iran President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate an irrigation and hydropower project that was designed and built by Iranian engineering firm.)

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Sri Lanka state oligopoly allowed to import some black gram

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has allowed the import of some black gram, by three state agencies, according to a gazette notice issued under the hand of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Import licenses will be given for 2,000 metric tonnes of the seed classified under HS Code 7312.31.22 and 29.

Sri Lanka State Trading Corporation, National Food Promotion Board and Sri Lanka Hadabima Authority is to be given import licenses.

Traders have resorted to smuggling some types of black gram (ulundu) mis classified as chick peas, to get over high taxes and import restrictions.

Tamil legislators have also protested the import controls, which they go into several key ethnic foods they consume. (Colombo/Apr23/2024)

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Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry consular division shifted to Battaramulla

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said it consular division would be shifted to the Suhurupaya building in Subuthipura, Battaramulla from May 02, 2024.

Document authentication services provided by the Consular Affairs Division in Colombo will be suspended on 29 and 30 April 2024 held transfer the Electronic Document Authentication System (e-DAS) to the new premises at Suhurupaya.

Urgent applications for authentication to the Consular Division in Colombo, or any Regional Consular Offices by 4.15 pm on 26 April 2024, the Foreign Ministry said.

Regional Consular Offices in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Kandy and Matara will remain open to accept applications.

Authenticated documents will be delivered to the applicants only on Thursday, 02 May 2024.

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