Limited rice imports sans customs duty to arrest CoL

[October 6, 2004 - 9.30 GMT] 


A special Cabinet Sub Committee was appointed on Wednesday 29th October to take urgent measures to arrest the escalating cost of living. The committee is headed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga.


The committee after extensive discussions has put into action plans to immediately bring down the cost of several essential food items. As such with immediate effect the price of rice would come down to Rs 35/-per Kilo. The prices of a Kilo of dhal and sugar will be reduced by Rs. 7/- and Rs. 5 /- respectively. The costs of these essential commodities are expected come down further in the weeks to follow.


The Committee has decided to remove the customs duty on the import of rice with immediate effect. The President has directed the Treasury Secretary Dr.P B Jayasundera and the Secretary to the Trade Ministry Mr. S. Wirithamulla to inform all importers of rice including the CWE, that they could import rice sans customs duty until December 31, 2004. The total imports permitted before this date would be 150, 000 Metric Tonnes.


However no rice imports would be permitted after this date, because a good rice harvest is expected in February next year.


These emergency measures have been implanted to bring down the price of rice. The recent drought had caused a deficit of stocks of the commodity, however the situation is expected to improve since a good harvest is forecast for February 2005. 


The committee also discussed the measures that need to be adopted to make available quality seed paddy to rice farmers. The Agriculture Ministry has been directed to make available sufficient quantities of quality seed paddy to all rice farmers in the country.


The Peoples Alliance Government had formulated methods to provide good quality seed paddy to increase productivity, but Agriculture Ministry under UNF govt had not carried forward this programme.


The new Government for the last six months has been working diligently to counter the effects of such negligence.







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Last Updated Date: October 06, 2004  - 9.35 GMT.


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Limited rice imports sans customs duty to arrest CoL