- LCMA and ACBOA request Import and Export Controller to nominate ‘credible’ importer to cater to SMEs and bakeries
- Industry hints at possible price hike in products towards end of the month
By Charumini de Silva
The Government has started the issuance of special licences for the import of ‘RPD palm olein,’ a key ingredient for bakery, confectionery and food processing industries.
The Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association (LCMA) and All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) welcomed the Government’s decision to issue a special licence to resolve the national crisis.
Already four LCMA members — two extra-large and two large-scale enterprises – have obtained the special licence to import ‘RPD palm olein’.
However, to cater to the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) and bakeries, LCMA and ACBOA have requested the Import and Export Controller to nominate a ‘credible’ importer or a refinery to import the required palm oil for manufacturing purposes.
“SMEs and bakery manufacturers are facing some difficulties with no mechanism being put forward to cater to these segments. Hence, both associations requested authorities to nominate a ‘credible’ importer for the purpose,” industry sources told the Daily FT.
They have categorically mentioned ‘credible’, as many are finding it difficult to meet the 180-day credit facility as well as to assure the high-quality RPD palm olein requirement.
The entire confectionery industry is worth around Rs. 150 billion. According to LCMA, the formal local manufacturing industry is worth Rs. 85 billion and with the SMEs, the sector’s value is around Rs. 95 to 100 billion. Separately, Sri Lanka exports $ 150 to 200 million (between Rs. 30 and Rs. 40 billion).
Around 1.5 million people are engaged in the bakery industry, with 500,000 directly employed and another one million indirectly.
When inquired about a possible price hike in all confectionary and bakery products, industry sources said it was likely, but did not confirm.
“RPD palm olein is a refined, high-quality version which is widely used globally in confectionery and bakery production. It is expensive and on top of it there is a high transportation cost involved. We will only be able to confirm a price increase in products by the end of the month, after calculating and taking all factors into consideration,” they added. (CdeS).