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DateLine Sunday, 3 June 2007

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Has CAA approved milk price increases, ask consumers

Consumers have been further burdened with the increase in milk food prices and more companies awaiting approval for a price revision from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA).

Retailers say that the prices of consumer items including milk food products are increased suddenly and whether approval has been sought from the authorities is questionable.

Consumers complain that they have not been informed of price increases and that prices of consumer items are exorbitantly high.

When the 'Sunday Observer' contacted the officials of the CAA they declined to comment and referred us to the Minister of Trade and Commerce whom they said is aware of the issue.

Trade and Commerce Minister Bandula Gunawardana said he was not aware of unauthorised increases in prices of milk food products and that he would look into the matter.

Some milk food companies have called upon the CAA to approve a 10 percent increase on 450g packets of milk powder.

The company owners say they are compelled to increase prices due to the price of a metric tonne of milk powder in the world market going up from US$ 2,900 to US$ 5,000. If approval is granted the price of a 450g packet will increase by Rs. 50.

Customer Service Manager Nestle Anura Karunatilake said the company had obtained approval to increase the price of its 400g and 1000g packets of milk powder by Rs. 8 with the despatch of the new stocks.

Karunatilake attributed the price increase to the escalating world market price of milk powder and the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar. Former Chairman, National Livestock Development Board and present Chairman of Pelwatte Dairy A.

Wickramanayake said if local milk production is increased people will not have to spend on imported milk foods where prices fluctuate according to world market prices.

The cows should be used to increase milk production and not for slaughter. Over 5,000 milk cows are slaughtered daily which is a huge waste of resources the country could save, he said.

The CAA approved a maximum retail price of Rs. 215 on a 450g packet of Nespray milk powder last month.

The CAA has not given approval to Maliban Biscuits Manufacturers Ltd. to increase the prices of its milk powder but prices in the local market have increased.

LF

 

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