Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena says no vendor will be allowed to sell a kilo of rice in Sri Lanka for more than Rs. 100 after new legislations on price control are passed.
Speaking during a media briefing at the Department of Government Information, Minister Gunawardena said the government’s aim is to do justice to both the farmer and the consumer by promptly passing legislations to control the price of rice which were approved at the recent Cabinet Meeting.
The Minister said the farming community must be protected adding a standard price must be introduced which should also be a bearable cost to the consumer.
He said if any vendor is found to be selling rice at a higher price than permitted, such persons will be initial fined Rs. 100,000, Rs. 200,000 on the next offence and a maximum of up to Rs. 1 million whereas the previous fine was Rs. 2,500.
Minister Gunawardena said the fine imposed on companies has increased to Rs. 10 million.
Minister Gunawardena issued a warning to middlemen who purchase paddy in the current market.
The Minister informed that stocks of paddy will not be allowed to be stored at any unregistered sites adding illegally collected stocks in defiance of the order will be seized by the government.
The Minister said a special circular has been issued to suspend the registration of new rice mills.
He said middlemen have resorted to purchasing small scale mills and pretending to be registered rice mills.
Minister Gunawardena said the Consumer Affairs Authority has all details of registered rice mills adding there are only 161 storage centres are in the country.
The Minister said any discrepancy with the details provided will result in the seizure of stocks adding middlemen are not allowed store stocks of paddy.