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Confectioners, bakers to submit palm oil proposal today

  • No licences to import palm oil yet

  • Palm Stearin not used by confectionaries

 

Following the ban imposed on the importation of palm oil, the bakery owners and confectionery manufacturers are to hand over their proposals to the Ministry of Finance today (12) detailing relief measures for the affected industries.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (11), Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association (LCMA) Chairman S.M.D. Suriyakumara said that the proposal made by the Government to provide the industry with a licence to import the palm oil required for the industry has not been finalised yet.

“Up to now, the proposal to permit us a palm oil import quota needed for the industry has not been finalised. We have been asked to submit a proposal with our suggestions and recommendations to the Treasury Secretary which we will be handing over tomorrow to the Ministry of Finance with the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA).”

When asked about the proposals, Suriyakumara said that they would be made public only after being handed over to the Ministry.

Last Monday (5), President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued instructions to completely ban the importation of palm oil with immediate effect. However, speaking to The Morning following the ban, the ACBOA and LCMA claimed that the ban would shut down the industries. The LCMA requested the Government to provide them with a special licence to import the necessary stocks of palm oil.

Addressing Parliament on Wednesday (7), Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana said that the confectionary and bakery industries would not shut down as they would be issued with a special licence to import the necessary stocks of palm oil.

Issuing a statement on Thursday (8), the President’s Media Division (PMD) stated that the President had decided to ban the importation of palm oil with immediate effect as the consumption of crude palm oil has adverse effects on public health and that standard palm oil varieties are used in the production of biscuits, confectioneries, and some bakery products.

“The variant bearing harmonised system (HS) code 1511.90.10 is an example. It is commonly known as palm stearin. There is no prohibition to the importation of this variety for use in the production of relevant food items,” the statement further said.

However, Suriyakumara said that palm stearin is only used in the production of margarine and soaps in small quantities.

“This has been a miscommunication; that palm stearin is used in the production of confectionaries. We have clarified this,” he said.

The confectionary industry uses palm olein, a refined product of crude palm oil and is affected by the present ban, Suriyakumara said, further adding that palm olein is directly imported in that state as the industry is not in possession of the technology to import crude palm oil and refine it inside the country.

The confectionary industry requires about 2,500 MTs of palm oil per month.