Maximum retail pricing on rice, dhal and sugar | Sunday Observer
Policy decision reached:

Maximum retail pricing on rice, dhal and sugar

3 July, 2022

The Consumer Affairs Authority’s (CAA) Consumer Affairs Council has reached a policy decision to set legal Maximum Retail Prices (MRP) on several consumer staples including rice, red lentil dhal and sugar.

The Consumer Affairs Council chairman N. S. M. Samsudeen told the Sunday Observer yesterday that the council has presented its decision to Trade, Commerce and Food Security Minister Nalin Fernando for approval.

“We have given recommendations on how to make it operational throughout the country,” he said.

“We took this policy decision to prevent the escalating social unrest stemming from the price volatility of kitchen staples and to minimise the possibility of errant traders exploiting consumers over these commodities,” said Samsudeen. “The Council had carefully taken note of the situation caused by the current financial crisis. Some traders seemed to be exploiting the current wave of inflation as a pretext to increase prices to boost their profits,” he added.

Samsudeen said when the MRPs are set for rice, lentils and sugar, no retail trader could sell these commodities at higher prices. “The CAA will use its powers and take legal action against those traders who sell these items at higher prices.”

Asked why the CAA had not taken any action against traders who have been openly selling rice, dhal, lentils, chilli and other commodities at prices determined solely by them during the past few weeks, he said the MRPs of these items could not be fixed until now due to supply constraints amid the fuel shortage.

“For us to take action, the MRPs must be published in the Gazette. We were unable to do so due to economic disturbances, which resulted in quick increases in food prices,” he said.

“When we received complaints, our units were at times unable to travel to the locations in question owing to a lack of fuel. However, the police assisted us in carrying out our duties, particularly in taking action against errant filling station owners around the country.”

When Samsudeen was asked, if the Council headed by him had specified the MRPs for rice, lentils, and sugar based on scientific recommendations, he said that will remain a secret until the MRPs are published in the Gazette,” he said.

Sri Lankans consume around 107 kilograms of rice per person annually. The country’s overall yearly sugar requirement is projected to be around 550,000 tons. The average monthly per capita lentil consumption is 671.14 grams, according to Trade, Commerce and Food Security Ministry sources.