The government has decided to permit import of maize only for the purpose of manufacturing animal feed as a remedial measure to prevent the soaring production cost of chicken.
This decision was taken after lengthy discussions the Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living held with the patronage of Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the Finance Ministry yesterday.
Accordingly, the existing stocks of maize hoarded by middlemen will be bought at Rs.52.50 per kilogram through Lak Sathosa and they will be sold to fodder manufacturers at a concessionary price of Rs.45.00 per kilogram.
The Finance Ministry agreed to incur the loss of Rs.7.50 per kilogram that is caused due to providing maize at a lower rate.
provide the necessary permits to animal feed producers who have already obtained recommendations from the Animal Production and Health Department to enable the fodder manufacturers to immediately import 75,000 metric tons of maize.
The Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living instructed the relevant authorities to import the permitted stocks of maize before the next season of maize harvesting.
According to the statistics of the Development Financial Department of the Finance Ministry, Sri Lanka annually needs 400,000 metric tons of fodder. About 250,000 metric tons out of this requirement is locally manufactured while the balance is imported.
The first stock for this year’s requirement will immediately be imported following the decision taken yesterday by the Cabinet Sub Committee.
Action against non-compliers
Meanwhile, the authorities said they have taken legal actions against 1,019 unscrupulous traders who had not complied with the price controls brought in by the government.
Price controls were introduced on 15 essential items last month by the government to combat the rising cost of living.
However, this was severely criticized by economists, who said such a move was a clear violation of the free market policies professed by the coalition government.
This move was ridiculed by renowned economist Razeen Sally at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit, which concluded last evening, calling the price controls as “supreme idiocy”.