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Restaurants call for concessions from govt. on selected restricted import ingredients

23 March 2022 08:38 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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As food prices have sky-rocketed in recent weeks amid import restrictions and the sharp depreciation of the rupee, restaurants are urging the government to look at making key ingredients available at affordable prices by way of extending concessions.


Colombo City Restaurant Collective (CCRC) President Harpo Goonaratne said the escalating costs cannot be passed on to customers, and doing so would very much discourage them, specially the locals.


Goonaratne pointed out that the tourism sector must not only look into the likes of international tourists, but locals too, since the latter helped the sector stay afloat during the crisis that was brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The import restrictions imposed by the government recently as a measure to address the forex crisis have made key ingredients required by restaurants highly expensive.


Items such as salmon, imported steaks, lamb, cheese, wine and spirits, fall under the list of restricted items.
While the Tourism Ministry gave assurance that the industry may import the required items with special permission, the prices of such items would be nowhere close to affordable when they reach the kitchens.


“We appeal to the authorities to allow the industry, namely the importers and suppliers to import directly as these items are not available locally either,” said Goonaratne.


He pointed out that the restaurant industry is highly labour-intensive, directly employing over 30,000 people.
“We as restaurateurs are extremely concerned about the impact on the current situation, where we are unable to operate our day-to-day businesses.


Despite various challenges faced by the restaurant sector, this current crisis is, by far, the most difficult and unfortunate period our industry has had to endure, similar to the other business communities that rely on the Leisure and Tourism industry in general,” added Goonaratne.

 


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