President instructs reduction of prices of some essential items

President Maithripala Sirisena at yesterday’s meeting with senior Ministers and officials.

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday instructed the relevant officials to take immediate measures to reduce the prices of some essential items to alleviate the burden on the people.

The President told officials to take immediate steps to reduce the prices of rice, big onions, coconuts and potatoes. He also told them to look into the possibility of bringing down the prices of other essential items.

During the meeting held at the President’s office last evening, the President instructed Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to import 500,000 metric tonnes of rice and to announce price reductions for all rice varieties sold through CWE (Sathosa) today.

After it transpired during the meeting that private traders sell rice at exorbitant prices with high profits, the President told Minister Bathiudeen to hold immediate talks with traders and take necessary measures to reduce the prices.

The President also directed officials to reduce the prices of big onions and potatoes at CWE outlets from today.

President Sirisena directed Consumer Affairs Authority officials to control the prices of potatoes and big onions after it was revealed that both commodities are imported at Rs.65 or less per kilogramme but are sold at very high prices by private traders for profit.

The President also told the Coconut Cultivation Board officials to organize mobile units to sell coconuts to the public under the purview of the board to bring down the prices as the prices of coconuts had risen sharply in the market due to third party involvement.

The President also told officials to streamline Tender procedures for importing essentials items to ensure a more efficient system.

He also called for the setting up of a Committee involving officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Agriculture to review the prices of essential goods on a weekly basis.

The meeting was attended by Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Rishad Bathuideen, Mahinda Amaraweera, Sujeeva Senasinghe, Eran Wickremaratne and officials from the relevant ministries.

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