PM orders prompt release of essentials from Port
By Faadhila Thassim
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday (24) ordered the Controller General of imports and Exports and the Director General of Sri Lanka Customs to immediately release essential food items held up in the Colombo Port.
The PM gave the order during the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Cost-ofLiving meeting, held to discuss at length the issues that have arisen due to essential food being held at the port and the possible increase in the prices of essential commodities.
SJB MP Ashok Abeysinghe previously charged that due to the acute shortage of dollars in Sri Lanka and the inability to reopen Letters of Credit, the Government has struggled to release over 1,000 containers that had piled up at the Colombo Port Thereby the Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa requested the Minister of Trade, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena to expedite the distribution of the essential food items to the people through the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment [CWE] and essential food importers. It was also emphasised that the officials from the Ministry of Trade and Agriculture should be responsible for releasing essential food items including rice to the market without any shortage.
Meanwhile, State Minister of Cooperative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection Lasantha Alagiyawanna stated that the recommendations of the Cabinet subcommittee on cost of living pertaining to the increase in the price of essential commodities will be produced at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow (27). Alagiyawanna previously indicated that an increase in the price of essentials is inevitable in consideration of increase in prices of rice, flour, milk powder, cement and gas in the global market.
Further at the request of Gunawardena, the Premier expedited the investigation into the allegations made in the resignation of the former Executive Director of the Consumer Affairs Authority. The request made by State Minister of Livestock, Farm Promotion and Dairy and Egg Related Industries D.B. Herath for further procurement of animal feed including maize from foreign markets was also approved at the meeting