The Cabinet decided to permit rice imports only in the event of a shortage created in the local market to stabilise the retail prices, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane told Daily Mirror yesterday.
He said the Cabinet took a policy decision not to increase the price of rice this year and next year and added that the government had fixed Rs.55 as the purchase price of paddy from cultivators while the retail prices remained stable.
“Mill owners and traders will not be allowed to jack up rice prices. If there is any artificial or natural shortage of rice, we will import rice to maintain a buffer stock. That is to stabilise prices in the local market. There is a storage facility at Veyangoda. We will use it to maintain a buffer stock of rice in respect of any shortage. Otherwise, the government will not import rice no matter what,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)