- Proposed hikes: milk powder by Rs. 200, wheat flour by Rs. 10, LPG by Rs. 550, cement by Rs. 50
The decision to increase the prices of essential food items has been postponed till the upcoming Cabinet meeting on Monday, Cooperative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said.
Previously, the decision to increase prices of wheat flour, milk powder, rice, cement, and gas was to be taken up at the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Cost-of-Living (CoL) yesterday.
“The proposed price revisions will be taken up at the Cabinet meeting on Monday (27) after evaluating all factors concerned,” Alagiyawanna said.
According to the proposed price revisions, a kilogram of milk powder will be increased by Rs. 200, a kilogram of wheat flour by Rs. 10, cement by Rs. 50 and LP gas by Rs. 550.
The State Minister acknowledged that shortages of milk powder, cement, wheat flour and LPG have led to a problematic situation.
Last week, Alagiyawanna said the Government would only allow an upward price revision if the importers agree to ensure adequate supply would be available for sale in the market without any shortage uninterrupted supply of goods for three months, and would not request for another upward price revision for three months. He added that companies would have to manage the foreign currency issue related to purchasing cost, and have to provide sales data to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) on a daily basis.
“I told the firms requesting to increase prices to seek a credit facility for a period of six months from the parent companies that they import goods from. I do not see any disadvantage to the consumers from this, as it will ensure sufficient buffer stocks and price stability in the market,” he told journalists last week.
The Daily FT learns that these agreements were one of the revelations made by the former CAA Executive Director Thushan Gunawardena before he resigned last week, which irritated both subject Ministers — Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena and State Minister Alagiyawanna.
The State Minister also claimed that the former CAA Executive Director Thushan Gunawardena had created an unnecessary debate on these agreements that the Government was planning to sign, adding that it was for the best for Gunawardena to reveal the agreements.