Scarcity of commodities ruled out during festive season | Page 2 | Sunday Observer
President’s Food Security Council, CAA vigilant on price increases

Scarcity of commodities ruled out during festive season

4 December, 2022

The CAA is vigilant on wholesalers and retailers who try to keep excessive profit margins on essential commodities and take undue advantage of consumers during the festive season, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Chairman Shantha Niriella told the Sunday Observer.

He said there could be no scarcity of essential commodities in the market during the festive season according to market analysis and trade surveys.

“We are closely looking at the market behaviour to ensure that consumers will benefit from the recently reduced commodity prices. Traders will not be able to make undue profits because we are monitoring the market behaviour and situations,” he said.

“If they try to sell essential commodities such as onions and flour, and other essential items, above the agreed market prices, they will have to face the consequences,” he said.

With regard to Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) on commodities such as flour, rice, and milk powder, Niriella said, “It is not possible or practical to introduce MRPs on essential commodities because it involves lengthy procedures, such as conducting market surveys and many stakeholder meetings.”

He said the Food Security Council appointed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe is ensuring “fair trade” in the market-level field. “There is an agreed price for every commodity. If traders are caught selling goods keeping higher margins of profits, they will have to justify the cause for selling the product at that price. Failing which, we will take legal action against them or impose a Maximum Retail Price on that item,” said Niriella.

The President’s Food Security Council had instructed the CAA to consider the cost of commodities in keeping with market behaviour and dynamics, ensuring that traders do not keep excessive profit margins.

“We are considering whether to reduce or increase the price of a commodity in demand,” he said.

Asked if that was why some poultry associations and egg trading organisations recently told the media about increasing the egg prices by another Rs.5, Niriella said that this was a rumour spread by traders.

“Traders had said that if the Government does not intervene, they will increase egg prices. However, egg traders say they will sell the eggs even at a lower price,” he said.

He said the prices of maize, animal feed, soya, and other related products had decreased. So they cannot increase the prices as they wish. At the time of introducing the Gazette on egg prices, the prices of material for animal feed were very high. The prices have dropped since, he said.

“The reason for this was that the Government permitted them to import enough wheat and other animal feed for the poultry farms,” he said.