Sri Lanka Minister rejects calls for price increases

Published 18 August 2011

Sri Lanka’s Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando while rejecting the demand for a price increase of a 50kg bag of cement by Rs.35 as requested by three cement companies recently, has instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to raid traders who sell cement beyond the controlled price of Rs750.

The decision was taken by the minister after a discussion with the relevant officials and authorities at the ministry.

CAA sources also said that it had no plans to increase cement prices despite illegal price hikes and as instructed by the minister, the CAA will expedite island-wide raids to crack down on cement hoarders and those selling cement beyond the stipulated price.

Legal action will be taken to curb illegal price hikes, but, the regulated price would not be raised. Cement price have been capped at Rs750 – the regulated price for a 50kg bag – although the industry has called for a revision of price to Rs785.

The minister pointed out that the present cement shortage was an artificial one and alleged that certain organiszed groups are attempting to sabotage the country’s progress by resorting to such actions.