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Family Budget Unit to be established

A Family Budget Unit to review overall supply of essential goods at an affordable price to households would be established, according to a proposal put forward by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Cabinet this week.

As the Cost of Living soars due to the food supply in the country being affected by extreme weather conditions, the Prime Minister noted that serious measures need to be taken to control the situation.

Measures will also be taken to provide additional support to people who have been affected by the drought and floods. A Coordinating Committee chaired by Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media will also be formed “to affirm the success of implementing decisions taken by Subcommittee on Cost of Living”.

They would together implement a programme to distribute a relief pack which includes rice, dhal, sugar, sprats, onion, potatoes and canned fish through supermarkets, Sathosa and other shops.

Institutions which participate in the programme will be provided a 50 percent reimbursement in their income tax with relief provided on the electricity bill.

Given that the coconut shortage brought about by the drought had also led to soaring prices, the Secretary to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs has been put in charge of expediting the import of coconut kernel.

The government would also seek Australian assistance in implementing a method of quarantine during coconut importation so that it would not affect local cultivations.

Cabinet also approved the proposal to “Pay the difference between the compensation paid by National Insurance Trust Fund and assessed damage through District Secretaries before December 31, 2017”. Compensation will also be paid to families whose cultivation had been damaged for several seasons in the Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and Vanni Districts.