President to head Cabinet Sub-Committee; re-imposes control price for rice; releases 70,000 metric tonnes of rice into market
The Government is taking a string of measures including releasing 70,000 metric tonnes of rice into the market, re-imposing control price for rice, making chicken imports and appointing a Cabinet Sub-Committee chaired by the President to curb the cost of living before the festive season gets into full swing.
Cabinet approved a high-powered Cabinet Sub-Committee on cost of living to be chaired by the President. It will consist of 15 Cabinet Ministers including the Prime Minister.
“The committee will discuss ways and means of providing benefits of the development projects implemented by the Government to the people.
They will also make necessary recommendations to provide relief to the general public,” Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet press briefing.
In addition, 70,000 metric tonnes of rice that were purchased during the Maha season by the Paddy Marketing Board will be released to the market. The Treasury will be releasing Rs. 430 million for initial distribution, which will be reimbursed from the sale of rice.
This decision was taken by Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando in view of the festive season, according to the Cabinet paper. These stocks will be issued to Lak Sathosa retail outlets and cooperative sales outlets countrywide.
Moreover, the Government has also re-imposed the control price for rice – samba Rs.70, nadu and white and red raw rice Rs. 60 per kg.
These moves come after Fernando told Parliament that extra stocks of chicken and eggs will be imported before the festive season. It was reported he had ordered the import of 2,500 tonnes of chicken and 50 million eggs to meet the demand during the upcoming holiday season.
A Trade Ministry official said the first consignment of 500 tonnes of chicken was being imported from neighbouring India. The All Island Poultry Association said the Government was overestimating demand and was trying to kill the local industry by flooding the market with cheaper imports.