Midnight consumer gazette to burden poorest, claims Harsha

Saturday, 5 July 2014 02:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Opposition Parliamentarian and UNP Economic Affairs Spokesman Dr. Harsha De Silva has accused the Government of bringing another ‘midnight gazette’ to burden Sri Lanka’s poorest and help a specially selected few to rake in profits.
 UNP MP Harsha de Silva gestures with a shampoo sachet at the media briefing yesterday Pic by Pradeep Pathirana
Addressing a media briefing yesterday, the UNP said that effective 1 August, the Consumer Affairs Authority was insisting that a range of items including shampoo, soap and toothpaste be branded with a special security stamp, driving up costs. “The security stamp can only be obtained through suppliers especially selected by the CAA,” De Silva said, adding that this indicated that certain individuals chosen by the Government would profit from the new regulations. The Gazette Extraordinary was published on 24 February under the Consumer Authority Act and stipulates that no products shall be manufactured, imported, distributed, transported or sold unless a security stamp obtained from the CAA is “affixed to each and every pack, container or wrapper”. Among the products listed in the Gazette to be affixed with the stamp are soft drinks, bottled mineral water, branded edible oil, toothpaste, all types of soap and shampoo. De Silva said the logic of the move was elusive. “Not listed here are products that are actually illegally being manufactured and sold, like alcoholic beverages,” the UNP MP charged. “Insisting on this stamp on these specific products, like toothpaste and shampoo sachets, will drive up prices and directly affect small merchants and the poorest consumers,” he asserted. He demanded that the Government bring the Gazette before Parliament and explain the rationale of the move, before giving it effect next month. (DB)