An Echelon Media Company
Saturday March 2nd, 2024

Sri Lanka to spend Rs10bn to give free rice to families

W.M. Seneviratne, a rice farmer works on a paddy field in Agbopura, Sri Lanka February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Devjyot Ghoshal

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will spend 10 billion rupees to purchase paddy and produce 40,000 metric tonnes of rice to give two million  poor families free of charge, Cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardana said.

The government will buy 61,600 metric tonnes of paddy to produce 40,000 MT of rice.

The rice will be produced by small millers.

“According to data from the Departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Development, in maha season 2022/23 there can be a surplus amount of paddy,” Gunawardana told reporters at the weekly cabinet briefing on Tuesday.

“Because of that it has been identified the need of purchasing an additional stock of rice than the traditional amount,”

Under the District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries, rice will be distributed among the identified Samurdhi beneficiaries including low-income earners using the existing system and the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment will coordinate the District Secretaries and issue necessary instructions to them, a statement from the President’s media division said.

“The total estimated cost is 8,040 million rupees, which includes, 6,200 million for paddy purchase, 290 million for rice drying, 590 million for milling charges, 200 million for packing costs,.160 million as additional payments to mill owners, and 600 million for transportation,” the statement said.

“However, the program’s estimated cost will vary depending on market fluctuations, and a budget provision of around.10 billion rupees will be allocated to be used if the need arises,”

“Given the country’s monthly rice requirement of approximately 210,000 metric tons, it has been observed that the next Maha season may see a paddy surplus. As a result, in order to protect both the paddy farmer and the consumer, the government must intervene in the purchase of a specific amount of paddy during the 2022/23 season”.

Sri Lanka’s Maha 2021 rough rice harvest hit by a chemical fertilizer ban had dropped 40 percent from a year earlier to 1.8 million metric tonnes.

In the 2020/2021 the paddy harvest was 1,862,901 metric tonnes, down from 3,061,394 in 2020, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told parliament last year.

Related; Sri Lanka Maha 2021 rice harvest drop 40-pct due to fertilizer ban

However, Sri Lanka had a good Yala harvest and there were also imports which helped boost supplies and there was now an excess. (Colombo/ Jan 17/2022)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka eyes SOE law by May 2024 for better governance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to pass a Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act improve governance of state-owned enterprise by May 2024 as part of an anti-corruption efforts following an International Monetary Fund assessment.

Sri Lanka’s state enterprises have been used by politicians to give ‘jobs of the boys’, appropriate vehicles for personal use, fill board of directors and key positions with henchmen and relatives, according to critics.

Meanwhile macro-economists working for the state also used them to give off-budget subsides or made energy utilities in particular borrow through supplier’s credits and state banks after forex shortages are triggered through inflationary rate cuts.

The government has taken billons of dollars of loans given to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation from state banks.

There have also been high profile procurement scandals connected to SOEs.

An SOE Reform Policy was approved by Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers in May 2023.

The Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act has now been drafted.

A holding company to own the SOEs will be incorporated and an Advisory Committee and Board of Directors will be appointed after the PCB law is approved, the statement said. (Colombo/Mar01/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes at 308.80/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 308.80/90 to the US dollar Friday, from 309.50/70 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.65/75 percent up from 10.50/70 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.90/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.15/35 percent down from 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent up from 12.30/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/45 percent down from 12.35/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/13.00 percent from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Mar1/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.37-pct, Expo to de-list

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up 0.37 percent on Friday, and SG Holdings, the parent company of Expolanka Holdings Plc, said it was taking the company private.

Expolanka is the largest listed company on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

“Expolanka Holdings PLC has, at the Board Meeting held on 1st March 2024, considered a request from its principal shareholder and resolved to initiate the de-listing of the Company’s shares from the Official List of the Colombo Stock Exchange subject to obtaining necessary shareholder approval and regulatory approvals,” the company said in a stock exchange filing.

As per arrangements with SG Holdings Global Pte Ltd, the Company’s majority shareholder, it will purchase its shares from shareholders who may wish to divest their shareholding in the Company at a purchase price of Rs 185.00 per share. The share closed up at 150.50.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.37 percent, or 39.47 points, at 10,691; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.64 percent, or 19.59 points, at 3,037.

Turnover stayed above the 1 billion mark for the sixth consecutive day, registering 1.4 billion.

Crossings in Melstarcorp Plc (135mn) up at 89.50, Hatton National Bank Plc (64mn) up at 158.00, Hemas Holdings Plc (53mn) up at 75.00 and Central Finance Company Plc (26mn) up at 103.50, added significantly to the day’s turnover.

“The upward trend is continuing, with more retail buying also coming in, the number of trades was more than 10,000 today,” a market participant said. “Investors are looking for undervalued stocks and buying in quantities.” (Colombo/Mar1/2024).

Continue Reading