Written by Staff Writer
10 Aug, 2021 | 11:25 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lankans living in various parts of the country allege there is a shortage of rice, sugar, milk powder, and gas in the local market.
As Laugfs Gas faced an issue in continuing the supply of gas, the local demand for gas is met by Litro Gas. Therefore, there is a high demand for Litro Gas at present in the country.
“I visited the same shop twice in search of gas. But, gas isn’t available anywhere,” said one consumer in Kurunegala.
“The Government must ensure there is a supply of firewood if they can provide us with gas,” said another.
According to Opposition MP Eran Wickremeratne, financial issues with the respective companies had led to the crisis.
Cabinet Spokesperson (Minister) Keheliya Rambukwella speaking at the weekly cabinet briefing said a decision will have to be reached to solve the issue, where the consumer will be protected.
Milk Powder Shortage
Sri Lanka is also facing a milk powder shortage, with supermarket shelves and retail stores being emptied due to panic buying. Many locals claim there is no milk powder in any store in their respective areas.
“The milk powder shortage has affected children a lot,” said one mother.
Cabinet decided to remove all taxes imposed on imported milk powder, Cabinet Spokesperson (Minister) Keheliya Rambukwella announced.
The decision was made in order to cut down on state revenue and pass on the benefit to the consumers, said the Minister.
The Cabinet of Ministers also decided to empower Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa to take necessary measures to address the shortage of milk powder in the market.
Sugar and Rice Shortage
On the 28th of May, the Sri Lankan Government suspended sugar imports at a time when importers had already brought down 600,000 MT of sugar sufficient for 08 months.
It is evident that sugar imported under the 25 cent tax scheme per kilogram is not being released to the market in a proper manner, resulting in a price hike, where a kilogram of sugar is sold not less than Rs. 150/-.
One local retail trader told News 1st that it is impossible to maintain stocks due to high prices.
Consumers also claim the price hike is unbearable.
Cabinet Spokesperson (Minister) Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters that necessary measures will be taken to trace concealed stocks of any essential item.
The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday (09) approved a Cabinet Memorandum submitted by the Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena to increase the fine for shop owners who are sell goods exceeding the maximum retail price from Rs. 2,500 / = to Rs. 100,000, under the consumer protection act.
Minister Gunawardena stated that this decision was a historic one, against those who did not allow such amendments to be made in the past and continues to arbitrarily increase prices of goods through various regulations.
Accordingly, this amount will remain as the minimum fine while and the maximum fine will be determined under the provisions of the relevant Act.
Rice Shortage ?
Minister Gunawardena stated that there is no need to fear the fine for any reason and that the program to revise the price of rice will be implemented this season despite the fine increase.
“The Government will put an end to the paddy mafia which exploits the consumers, especially in the time that the country is suffering from a global crisis. Accordingly, measures will be taken to provide consumers with a kilogram of rice for less than Rs. 100 while maintaining the guaranteed price of Rs. 50 – Rs. 52 for paddy farmers.” The Minister stated.
Minister Gunawardena also emphasized that the possession of paddy by third parties is strictly prohibited.
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