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Sunday, 22 November 2009

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New food prices in force



Minister Bandula Gunawardena

The new prices of the essential food items of which import duties were reduced recently by the Government are now operative in the open market.

A spokesman for a leading supermarket chain said they would price the new arrivals based on reduced prices. The price reductions will not apply to the stocks which had come in earlier since it would lead to huge losses, he said.

He said a popular milk powder brand has already been released to the market at the reduced price of Rs. 225 per 400 grams.

According to outstation sources, sugar, canned fish and dhal prices have already come down. But a low quality variety of dhal, which is not red, but yellowish, has been introduced to the market on reduced prices, said a spokesman for the Consumer Affairs Authority - Pricing Division.

He said a leading wholesale import trader in Pettah had sold his items on the reduced prices from last Thursday. He is attracting a heavy volume of orders from outstation traders, he said.

Lak Sathosa, Chairman Nalin Fernando said all essential food items were available at Lak Sathosa outlets from last Thursday, following the price reduction.

Lak Sathosa's policy is to maintain a very small profit margin which enables it to run its network of outlets and look after its 1,200 employees.

To ensure a better service to the public, Lak Sathosa has decided to increase the number of its sales outlets to 150, he said.

Assistant Secretary, Essential Food Items Importers and Traders Association, A. Nathan said the association had been selling food items such as dhal, dried chillies, onions and greenpeas according to the prices agreed with the Government from last Wednesday, the 11th.

"We were able to reduce the prices since the Government had reduced import duties on those items. The reduced wholesale prices would reflect on the retail market", he said.


A Co-op City outlet

Trade Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardena said, on a directive from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, import duties of several essential food items were reduced to provide relief to consumers during the forthcoming Christmas and New Year season.

The Trade Ministry also signed a pricing agreement with the Pettah Essential Commodity Importers and Traders' Association last week, which would be valid for the next six months.

The Pettah Wholesale Importers and Traders have agreed to sell essential commodities on their new prices soon after they are cleared from the harbour, for use during the upcoming festive period.

Minister Gunawardena said some private sector traders had earned big profits from essential food items such as dhal, sugar and chillies during the last few months.

The Co-operatives and Lak Sathosa marketing network was expanded to break the private sector monopoly and to give a better service to the public over the past year. Around 363 Coop City and 1,000 mini Coop City outlets had been set up at every nook and corner of the country to sell essential food items at reasonable prices, he said.

Gazetted wholesale prices
Item Quantity Price
Sugar 1 kg Rs. 80
Dhal 1 kg Rs. 140
Big onions 1 kg Rs. 65
Red onions 1 kg Rs. 75
Potatoes 1 kg Rs. 65
Dried chillies 1 kg Rs. 195
Milk powder 400g Rs. 225
Canned fish Tin Rs. 149
Basmathi rice 1 kg Rs. 85

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