As the festival season demand surges, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has instructed his officials to take immediate action to release freshly milled rice to the market to strengthen the rice supply.
“We want to act fast on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s directive,” said Bathiudeen yesterday. “The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) will take action against errant rice sellers.”
Yesterday Bathiudeen also instructed his officials to import 10,000 tons of rice and buy 20,000 MT of paddy (both white rice and nadu) from the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB). He also instructed the Cooperatives Wholesale Establishment (CWE) to make milling arrangements at its earliest.
The CWE was expected to start paddy purchase from PMB yesterday and thereafter start releasing this paddy to both Government and private sector millers for processing. The freshly milled rice will be released to Lanka Sathosa to be sold at a competitive Rs. 78 per kilo, successfully stalling any price increases.
On 14 December, the Ministerial Committee on Economic Management headed by Wickremesinghe gave the go ahead to import new rice volumes up to 250,000 MT to meet the demand in the market.
Minister Rishad Bathiudeen inspecting a Lanka Sathosa outlet