Home / Front Page/ High food taxes driving cost of living: Advocata Institute

High food taxes driving cost of living: Advocata Institute

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 15 September 2017 00:00


Sri Lanka has high food costs. Consumer prices are 25.22% higher (and grocery prices 34.48% higher) than in India according to data gathered for August by Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database. 

One reason for high food prices is the high import taxes on food items. The Government intervenes heavily in the trade regime for food items through para-tariffs such as a CESS and Special Commodity levy. 

The public is unaware of the extent to which food is taxed, so we have compiled a table showing the tax on basic food stuffs, items that would be on table of many families.

Import taxes add Rs. 130 to a bottle of cooking oil, Rs. 880 to a kg of butter, Rs. 625 to a kilo of yogurt and around 141% to a kilo of cheese. The list and the charts give details of the taxes.

Gathering accurate data on food taxes is a slow and painful process due to frequent changes in the tax structure. The initial exercise is limited to a few basic food items but Advocata hopes to expand this scope to eventually include all major food items. According to available data only 4.3% of Government revenue is raised through the special commodity levy imposed on food items, which ironically is almost exactly equivalent to the losses incurred by the major state enterprises. 

Given that Sri Lankans as a whole are food consumers rather than producers and Advocata urges the Government to remove para tariffs such as the Special Commodity Levy and CESS and return to a regime of low and uniform duties for all items including food. 

Advocata’s Food Tax Tracker is online at www.advocata.org/food-taxes.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Implementing SC Orders

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

The Supreme Court on 18 April has ordered six Ministries, their Secretaries and three Government authorities to take immediate several effective measures to be enforced in the design and construction of all parts of new buildings and services the pub

Need for an education revolution: Future of our kids and the nation is at risk – Part I

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

It is said that a country is only good as her people. A country belongs to her people. In a democratic country, people elect the leaders to manage the country on their behalf. Hence, to be hailed as a progressive country, it is paramount for a countr

Universalism versus tribalism

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

The most venerable Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero Mahanayake of the Asgiriya chapter has announced that his recent remarks, have been misconstrued and distorted. The authenticity of recorded information in cyber space is an inconvenient truth of t

A sermon on stoning

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

It is generally assumed we have passed the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Age, and the Space Age.After a breath-taking dive in to the Digital Age, we are well on our way to the Age of Automation and Artificial Intelligence. N

Columnists More