Retailers deny dhal, tinned fish shortage

The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) and Lanka Sathosa Ltd. have refuted reports of tinned fish and dhal shortages and assured that they had ample stocks and that outlets were working to ensure shelves are restocked for when curfew is lifted.

Following the panic buying on Friday (20) morning as a result of the sudden imposition of curfew, several instances in shortages of goods such as canned fish and dhal were reported.

SLRA President Sidath Kodikara told The Sunday Morning that while there had been a small issue of shortages a couple of days back, the matter had been rectified promptly and that goods would be transported even during curfew.

“There are sufficient stocks of goods and I have not been informed of any shortages. Retailers have got the relevant approval from the authorities and are making sure that supermarket shelves are stocked and ready for customers when curfew is lifted,” he said.

The SLRA is the representative body of the retail industry in Sri Lanka.

Nushad Perera, Chairman of Sathosa, which has the largest retail network in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector with over 400 outlets, too assured that it had enough stocks to last over a month.

“There are no shortages. We have enough stocks for at least 45 days,” Perera said.

However, he noted that there had been an issue with logistics when unloading goods at retail stores, but the matter was soon attended to by setting up sub-warehouses.

“There was a bottleneck when unloading goods at retail outlets due to the high quantities. But we then set up sub-warehouses in Weerawila, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, and Wattala and it helped resolve the problem and now goods and logistics operations are happening smoothly,” Perera said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced a significant price reduction in dhal and canned fish on Tuesday (17), resulting in long queues outside Sathosa outlets to purchase these food items.

– Skandha Gunasekara