Hike on import tax for potatoes and big onions from midnight

big onionPresident Maithripala Sirisena has issued instructions to fix a maximum price of Rs. 2500 for a pack of 50kg fertilizer in any brand which is given to the farmers.

He also instructed the Finance Ministry to increase the import tax for potatoes and big onions, with effect from midnight today.

The President gave these instructions at a special meeting held today at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss the issues faced by the farmers island-wide.

President Sirisena, considering the difficulties of the farmers who had to purchase the 50 kg fertilizer packs for different prices including Rs. 2750, Rs. 3400 and Rs. 3500, issued instructions to the officials to impose a fixed price.

The President further directed the officials to credit the fertilizer subsidy of Rs 25,000, which is given to farmers per hectare, to any bank account given by the farmers.

Expressing his views the President said that the Government will not take any decision which will make the farming community uncomfortable. He further stated that the aim of the Government is to prevent imposition of economic burdens on farmers.

President Sirisena promised to discuss issues related to fertilizer subsidy and purchasing paddy in detail at the next cabinet meeting and pledged to take steps to solve these issues. (Colombo Gazette)

1 COMMENT

  1. The decision made by HE. President Maithripala Sirisena to give orders to increase the import tax on potatoes and big onions with effect from midnight the 29th., February 2016 is the MOST WELCOME decision/order made by HE. Maithripala Sirisena for the year 2016, up to now. This decision/order has to be most welcome by our farmers/financial managers of the state coffers and the general public and consumers. Of course, this will immediately enhance the prices of potatoes and big onions in the market and consumers will be subjected to pay an increase in retail prices, but HE. Maithripala Siresena should NOT FORGET to apply this price increase to stocks available in the market, but ONLY to all IMPORTS that will land in the habour since today. The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) with the the assistance of the Police, Special Task Force (STF) and the Security forces should make sure that all potatoes and big onions available in the retail and wholesale market are sold at the prices that prevailed on the 28th of February 2016, until the new increased priced imports reach the retail market. The reason being that the unscrupulous importers and traders will make “A KILL” in the selling of the already available stocks that they have in their stores/warehouses and shipments that they have ordered that will keep on arriving every month from India and Pakistan, the 2 major exporters to Sri Lanka or redirected shipments from Dubai. The statistical figures given below from India shows information concerning a month’s import by an importer. Import orders are at fixed prices are place for one year with deliveries every month over the valid order period. (Statistics on Big Onions and import of potatoes from Pakistan were difficult to obtain before writing this comment.)
    Date HS Code Description Destination Port of Loading Unit Quantity Value (INR) Per Unit (INR)
    18-Feb-2016 07019000 INDIAN FRESH POTATOES PACKED IN NEW GUNNY BAGS (PACKING DTLS AS PER INV) EXPORTUNDER MEIS SCHEME Sri Lanka Nhava Sheva Sea KGS 28,750 256,963 9
    The President has been given the best guidance and advice by the new Agriculture Ministry Secretary and Officials and this is based on the reality that a bumper harvest of local potatoes and big onions are expected soon and the farmers would enjoy a better price for their produce and have a reasonable imcvome for the Sinhala new year period/season. This will also Not subject the farmers to allow their produces to ROT in their homes in Dambulla (onions) and Potatoes (Badulla and NuwaraEliya) as it happened last year and the previous year. It will also help save the much required foreign exchange from going to India and Pakistan, but help Sri Lanka increase its foreign reserve. The President guided/adviced by the new team of the Ministry of Agriculture should be commended for this ACTION in the interest of the poor farmers and the NATION. The country has to come before anything and then its people.
    Potato Production
    Unit : MT .
    District 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
    National Total 81,544 79,380 79,520 75,263 74,398 60,848 51,308 64,359 75,352 68,778 81,661 70,377
    Nuwara Eliya 26,828 22,465 24,131 15,446 21,629 11,180 11,118 12,511 15,483 17,030 20,242 24,067
    Badulla 54,034 56,295 54,696 59,649 52,532 49,157 39,847 51,600 59,655 51,143 60,272 45,060
    Other Districts 682 620 693 168 237 511 343 248 214 605 1,147 1,250*
    The above statistics show that Sri Lanka can produce it’s requirements of Potatoes, if the farmers are assisted properly. This is what HE. Maithripala Sirisena should do along with the Ministry of Agricuture and NOT ALLOW IMPORTS AT ALL. We the people can bear up difficulties a bit, until such time we become self-sufficient, when it comes to Potatoes and Big Onions.
    Noor Nizam. Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher, SLFP Stalwart and Convener – The Muslim Voice.

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