ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will reduce and maintain fixed prices prices of 27 essential commodities for three months starting February 8, subject to foreign exchange rates and any taxes that may be imposed on certain imported goods, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.
The Trade Ministry signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with select local manufacturers and direct importers today in this regard as part of a cabinet-approved price stabilisation project, Gunawardena told reporters at the signing of the MoUs on Wednesday (3).
According to a ministry press release, agreements were signed directly with the main supplier of each commodity – for example, rice mill owners and flour mill owners with respect to the price of rice and flour respectively.
The minister said manufacturers and importers in both public and private sectors have extended their support to the move, with state institutions such as BCC Lanka limited, the National Livestock Development Board, the State Trading Corporation and the Industrial Technology Institute singing the agreement.
With regard to importers, he said, MoUs were signed with importers who have been supplying their respective commodities for a long period of time and had previously supplied to the government.
Dhal, an essential commodity currently being sold at Rs 188-190 per kilogramme, can be sold for Rs 165 per kg through Sathosa and Sri Lanka’s network of cooperatives in the months of February, March and April, said Gunawardena.
However, he said, prices of such essential imported commodities will be reviewed on a monthly basis for the next three months in the event there are changes in foreign exchange rates and if the government imposes any tax on those commodities.
“If a tax is imposed then it can no longer be sold at the fixed price, so any taxes will be added to the product price,” he added.
The initial agreements were signed on Wednesday (3) based on current foreign exchange rates and taxes.
According to the agreement, red raw, white raw, white nadu, samba, kiri samba, wheat flour, white sugar, brown sugar, green tea, red dhal-Australian, big onion-Indian, potato-native, potato-Pakistani, chickpea, dried Chili, Canned Fish – Local, Canned Fish – Imported, Sprats – Thailand, Chicken (Skinned), Salt, Milk Powder, Soybean Oil, Laundry Soap, Laundry Bar Soap, Fragrance Soap, Hand Wash Liquid, Mouthwash (SLS) Certified) will be kept stable for the next three months, while the quality of the products should be maintained within the next three months as agreed. (Colombo/Feb05/2021)