Minister of Trade Nalin Fernando has advised the Consumer Affairs Authority to summon officials of Laugfs Gas to inquire into the decision to increase gas prices.
Speaking at a media briefing today, Minister Fernando said milk powder, gas, cement and other items have been removed from the essential item list.
Therefore, the Minister said prior approval from the Consumer Affairs Authority is not required when increasing gas prices.
The Minister said eight months ago gas including several other goods were removed from the list of essential items, adding that as a result companies do not require the approval of the CAA when increasing prices.
However, the Trade Minister said the CAA can inquire into the reasons that led to the price increase, and if the increase is justifiable.
He noted that a decision must be reached as to how the matter should proceed in future, adding that if required the government can include these items once again in the essential items Gazette.
However, Minister Fernando stated they must reach a decision over the vast difference in prices between the two gas providing companies.
The Minister on a separate note added that the public is now hoarding paddy, as rice cannot be stored for more than two to three weeks.
The Trade Minister said there will be no shortage of rice and urged the public to refrain from storing rice unnecessarily.
Minister Fernando said rice from the Maha season will suffice four months while the Yala season in July will yield rice for two to three more months.