Rice stocks sufficient only until mid-September – PM

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Warning of an inevitable food crisis, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe said the existing rice stocks in the country are only sufficient until mid-September.

Wickremesinghe said so during a discussion with Treasury officials and economic consultants on Monday (23) in connection with the proposed Budget and the arrangements to resolve the present economic crisis in the country.

He said the food shortage would become a common issue worldwide. “However, Sri Lanka has been taking every step to resolve this issue,” he added.

He said the new Budget will be tabled in Parliament to reduce the capital expenditure by a considerable amount. The funds saved will be used to implement welfare programmes in the country.

“The food shortage is as a result of wrong administration in the market, along with the Ukraine-Russia war,” he said.

He agreed to a proposal made by the officials that the programmes to provide relief must be digitalised. “Apart from this, a framework must be created that incorporates the economic rights into the Constitution,” he further said.

During the discussion, the Premier pointed out that a framework needs to be adapted to ensure a competitive market that can achieve development goals and the cultivation activities must be carried out scientifically and in a well-planned manner.

Discussing about the prevailing fertiliser and fuel shortages in the country, attention was focused on implementing short-term and long -term programmes to resolve this issue. As the Maha Season begins in February 2023, attention was focused on steps to be taken to prevent a food shortage and provide food to the urban population during this period.

By Naalir Jamaldeen