By Charumini de Silva
Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Special Raids Unit Director Sanjaya Irasinghe yesterday disclosed that 31,000 tons of sugar imported should be available in the country and they are investigating the sudden shortage in the market.
The circumstance has raised concerns about the sudden shortage following an increase in sugar imports.
“There are 16 main sugar importers in Sri Lanka. They have imported 31,000 tons of sugar when the tax was 25 cents and at Rs. 50,” he said.
On 2 November, the Government increased the Special Commodity Levy imposed on imported sugar from 25 cents to Rs. 50 per kilo.
Irasinghe said they are now in the process of checking all of their offices one by one in detail to understand how the stocks were issued to the market.
Noting that CAA has already taken proactive measures by conducting raids on warehouses, Irasinghe said that one warehouse which claimed to have no stocks, was found with 5 tons of sugar, while another warehouse had 270 tons.
“We are currently investigating those stocks,” he added, underscoring the need for transparency in the sugar supply chain.
Irasinghe also called on the consumers to report any instances where traders sell a kilogram of sugar over Rs. 275.
Earlier this month Trade Minister Nalin Fernando justified the sugar tax hike, noting that it is necessary to cover Government expenses and support initiatives for the poor and vulnerable.
As per the Minister, Sri Lanka imports 45,000 tons of sugar monthly and earns around Rs. 27 billion in taxes annually.