Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana says 100,000MT of rice will be imported as a safety stock to curb racketeering in the market.
Addressing a media briefing in Colombo, the Minister said the safety stock will be used in the event of a shortage of rice in the market.
The Minister said he has a responsibility to take preventative measures against such rackets, adding he will store the 100,000MT of rice in storages in Veyangoda.
Minister Gunawardana said the move is focused on ensuring the government has sufficient rice stocks in the event of a possible shortage.
The Minister stated competitive tenders have been called for this purpose with international rates, adding that high ranked state officials, technical and procurement committees are looking into the matter.
The Trade Minister said it will be presented to the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, the Minister said laws will be enforced to confiscate paddy stocks if the Paddy Marketing Board or other racketeers other than the mill owners purchase paddy from farmers and store it with the intention of increasing the price of rice.
He said the Rs.2,500 fine imposed on vendors who sell rice above the maximum retail price set by the government under provisions of the Consumer Protection Act will be increased to Rs.100,000.