President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last night issued emergency regulations to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential food items at a fair price, while appointing Maj. Gen. M.D.S.P. Niwunhella as the Essential Services Commissioner.
The regulations were issued as per powers vested to the President under the Public Security Ordinance.
Essential food items include rice, paddy and sugar while traders will be banned from all unfair practices such as hoarding, creating artificial shortages, selling at exorbitant prices or above the Maximum Retail Price (MRP), thereby imposing additional burden to the public.
The President’s Media Office said essential items would be made available to wholesale and retail trade as per MRP, as well as a Sri Lanka Customs-determined import price. This will be done without compromising the repayment ability of loans taken from State banks by importers and traders.
The Presidential intervention follows widespread shortage of essential items such as rice, sugar, dhal, wheat and milk powder, and the resultant high prices in retail outlets.
Traders have blamed the crisis on the Government’s failure to allow imports as well as the banking system not releasing required foreign exchange to clear consignments already received but lying at the Colombo port.