Bandula warns of imposing sugar tax

Sugar tax in the offing if errant trading continues - minister

by Staff Writer 07-11-2020 | 8:05 PM
COLOMBO (News1st): Trade minister Bandula Gunawardana has said that a tax will be imposed on sugar if the benefit of its price reduction is not passed on to the public. On October 13, the government had scrapped off the import duty on several essential items including dhal, canned fish, big onion, and sugar. Accordingly, a kilogram of sugar should be sold at Rs 85 a kilo. However, the president of the Sri Lanka Canteen Owner's Association Asela Sampath has said that the benefit of the price reduction is not being passed on to the people. "...sugar is sold at 135 rupees at grocery stores," Sampath added. He noted that 90,000 metric tonnes of sugar had been imported to the country when the import duty was scrapped off, and that the importers had to pay around Rs 4.5 billion to clear their consignments. "Therefore, those stocks of sugar are being sold at rates ranging between 120 and 125 rupees in the market," the association president pointed out. Ranjith Vithanage, the chairman of the National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection, said that a ceiling price must be imposed on sugar through a gazette notification. "We wish to question the government whether they are trying to protect a few large scale businessmen or the millions of consumers in the country," he remarked. Trade minister Bandula Gunawardana said there is no point of scrapping off taxes if the benefit is not passed to the people. "Since doctors and other entities are saying that sugar must not be sold at low rates to the people, we will request to impose the taxes again," Gunawardana warned.