Govt to Allow Import of Nitrogen Extracts and Potassium
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
The Government has not decided to import chemical fertiliser whatsoever, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. However, a Gazette Notification, by the Import and Export Control Department, had been sent yesterday to the Government Printer, allowing the import of Nitrogen extracts and Potassium.
The move has been made on the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture and the Fertiliser Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture. SJB Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva questioned, in Parliament, whether Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa has reversed the decision taken by the President to ban the import of Chemical Fertiliser. Dr.de Silva said the Imports and Exports Control Department had issued a Gazette, bearing the signature of Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, to the Chief Executive Officers of all banks, noting that a new Gazette has been issued lifting the ban on chemical fertiliser imports.
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramauna MP Gunapala Rathnasekara said, in Parliament earlier, that restrictions on importing chemical fertiliser have been relaxed to a certain extent due to the conclusion that some sectors cannot shift to organic fertiliser immediately. He made this remark, while participating in the Adjournment Debate on the Central Bank Annual Report 2020.
“Some decisions taken by a Government for the betterment of the country cannot be implemented as planned due to certain conditions. Therefore, such decisions have to be amended a bit. As a Government we want to introduce organic fertiliser to protect the lives of the people. That proposal by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been implemented successfully. But when we studied further, we saw that some sectors cannot shift to organic fertiliser immediately.
Therefore permission has been granted for certain sectors to look into the possibility of importing chemical fertiliser,” he noted. “Now, this decision is being criticised.
Some people say that although the President said that chemical fertiliser will be completely banned, he cannot stick to that promise. But let me tell you that this is a basic principle of management. We cannot implement every decision we take the way we planned. We have to analyse the environment and make some amendments.
This is what we are doing as a Government, he said and added “Chemical fertiliser ban is still in force. Many have now turned to organic fertilisers and that proposal is going on without any hindrance. Organic fertilisers are being manufactured successfully as well. But there will be some issues at this early stage of the work.”