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Wednesday September 27th, 2023

Sri Lanka to probe domestic maize collector racket

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Consumer Affairs Authority has been instructed probe a racket to push up domestic maize prices just as the harvests are due to come to the market, the President’s office said.

Sri Lanka blocks imports of maize through tight licensing and import duties allowing an oligopoly of maize collectors and farmers to push prices up, critics have charged.

In many countries, high yield maize has made poultry a cheap source of protein for the less affluent.

Secretary to the President P B Jayasundera, had ordered the CAA to “immediately launch an investigation on attempts to create an artificial scarcity of maize despite the availability of adequate stocks.”

“It had been revealed that intermediaries who gain unreasonable profit through trading of maize are behind this sinister attempt,” the office of the President said in a statement.

“Information has been received that their motive is to increase the price of chicken by creating a non-existing scarcity during the upcoming festival season.”

At a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat with representatives of maize farming associations, officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Authority ways to protect farmers and consumers have been met.

In the current Maha season 70,000 acres of maize have been cultivated which would give 300,000 metric tonnes of maize, which has not reached the market yet.

Farmers are being paid a floor price of 50 rupees per kilogram.

In the past, while maize prices have been pushed up with the help of import duties to give profits to farmers and poultry farmers who have little political clout had been squeezed by price controls, critics have said.

Sri Lanka’s Consumer Affairs Authority had against slammed price controls of 430 rupees per kilogram of chicken. (Colombo/Mar11/2020)

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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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