About 20,000MT of canned fish are imported annually for the domestic need. As a result of encouraging the local production of canned fish to save foreign exchange of Rs. 5 billion, since 2012 four local factories are engaged in canned fish productions. These factories have produced about 150 direct employment opportunities.
In 2013 taxes on imported canned fish were increased to Rs. 100 per kilogram to encourage the local production and it was reduced to Rs. 50 for providing concessions to the customers in 2015. Accordingly, a 425g fish can should include 280g of fish excluding liquid and be sold at a maximum price of Rs. 140, and a 155g can of fish should include 105g of fish excluding liquid and be sold at a maximum price of Rs. 70.
However, the expected relief has not reached the customer while the importation of canned fish has increased to 40,000MT in 2015 involving Rs 10 billion foreign exchange.
Hence, the Cabinet approval has been granted for the proposal submitted by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera to grant special tax concessions for importation of Mackerel only to local canned fish producers and also to give the concession for imported can fish only for fish cans that comply with the given standards. (Colombo Gazette)