CAA comes down hard on errant cement dealers | Sunday Observer

CAA comes down hard on errant cement dealers

30 January, 2022

If hardware traders are caught selling cement at prices above the Government-imposed price ceiling, their dealership contracts with cement manufacturers will be cancelled, Consumer Affairs Authority, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Chairman D. M. S. Dissanayaka told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

He was speaking at a meeting with executives of cement manufacturers regarding the challenges that had arisen as a result of the scarcity of cement and its sale at high prices by some dealers. They had agreed to revoke dealership contracts with hardware dealers who make unconscionable profits from their supplies.

The Consumer Affairs Authority’s countrywide legal enforcement has arrested over 90 hardware businessmen for cement rackets such as hoarding cement stocks, mixing other substances with cement, and selling it above the price ceiling.

CAA Chairman said that he had directed his district officers islandwide to conduct raids to nab errant cement traders and to seize the bags of cement in their possession.

He said that CAA officers receive many complaints from the public who are prepared to expose the traders who sell cement above the stipulated price. “The CAA will definitely act on these complaints. The Authority will take legal action against those selling cement at blackmarket prices,” he said.

When questioned how cement rackets take place, Dissanayaka said it mostly occurs during distribution, while cement bags are transported from the factory to the hardware shop.

“They conceal the items so that when cement is scarce in the hardware store or made to appear so, they sell them at higher prices to the consumer and make big profits. Sometimes, these dealers buy cement from legitimate markets and sell them at a higher price to a client who is in urgent need of cement,” he said.

A bag of cement should be sold at Rs. 1,375 as per Government regulations. However, a bag of cement is being sold at prices ranging from Rs. 1,600 to Rs 2,000.