Protest today against essentials’ MRPs being lifted

  • Import tax on rice reduced

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

Consumer rights activists are to conduct a silent protest today (5) in front of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) due to the extraordinary gazette issued removing maximum retail prices (MRPs) imposed on certain essential commodities.

Speaking to The Morning, consumer rights activist Asela Sampath said the silent protest will last for one hour from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Groups and unions representing three-wheelers, motorcyclists, estate workers, lotteries, and entrepreneurs are expected to participate.

“We don’t need Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, the Trade Ministry, and the CAA to lift or increase the prices of essential items according to the whims and fancies of the business community. We request all of them to step down since they only want the public to remain in hunger,” he claimed.

The Government has removed the retail price cap on several essential commodities through a recent extraordinary gazette notification, thereby cancelling the gazette notifications previously issued imposing MRPs on such.

As such, the retail prices of dhal, sugar, sprats, green gram, potatoes, big onions, canned fish, chickpea, wheat flour, milk powder, dried fish, coconut, chicken, maize, dried chillie, Maldive fish, and corn have been removed through the new gazette.

The CAA said the gazette is effective from Wednesday (3).

The following seven gazette notifications previously published by the CAA have been rescinded by the new communiqué:

  • Order No. 39 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 1975/68 on 14 July 2016 for MRP on chickpeas, wheat flour, and imported milk powder
  • Order No. 40 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2003/44 on 27 January 2017 for MRP on dried sprats, green gram, and imported potatoes
  • Order No. 48 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2048/30 on 6 December 2017 for MRP on dried fish, coconut, dried chilies, Maldive fish, and several other items
  • Order No. 59 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2166/29 on 12 March 2020 for MRP on chicken
  • Order No. 60 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2166/30 on 12 March 2020 for MRP on corn
  • Order No. 61 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2167/9 on 17 March 2020 for MRP on masoor dhal, big onions, and canned fish
  • Order No. 76 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2243/13 on 2 September 2021 for MRP on white sugar and brown sugar

Meanwhile, the special commodity levy on imported samba, nadu, and raw rice has been amended, the Ministry of Finance announced yesterday (4). Accordingly, the import tax on rice, which previously stood at Rs. 50-60, has been reduced to 25 cents per kilogramme.