The aim of the inspection was to ascertain whether there is any truth in certain reports which stated that there is a shortage of rice during the coming festival season.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Affairs Rishard Badiudin also joined in this inspection.
To start the tour, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake inspected whole sale rice stores on Bodhiraja Mawatha in Pettah.
The minister who engaged in conversation with wholesale rice dealers exchanged views about the prices of consumer items including rice.
During the conversation, the wholesale merchants told the minister that there is no such shortage of rice in Pettah wholesale trade stalls. They also said that stocks of rice are released to the market at very low prices as import duty on rice has been reduced by the government.
At the end of the inspection tour, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake who addressed the media stated that certain unscrupulous traders are attempting to create an artificial shortage in the market during the festival season through which they intend to hike prices of rice.
The Minister, who insisted that this government, as it is responsible to stop such acts, will not allow them to exploit consumers. He also said that the responsibility of the government is to protect the consumer as well as the local farmer on occasions of this nature.
“His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out to me yesterday that he received information about certain unscrupulous traders who are attempting to create an artificial rice shortage in order to increase the prices of rice during the festival season. Accordingly, I joined Minister Rishard Badiudin to visit the wholesale traders in Pettah today. We witnessed that there is no rice shortage in these wholesale stores. Prices of rice, dhal and green gram remain at a lower rate. Certain factions attempt to sell commodities at higher prices by convincing the consumer that there is a shortage of consumer goods. We would like to say such dishonest parties to visit Pettah and admit the reality. I would like to make one plea. That is to draw your attention to the consumer while making your business. Don’t increase prices indiscriminately,” the Finance Minister said.
He said the Government is protecting the consumer while guarding the producers as well through a proper tax policy mechanism. (Colombo Gazette)