State Minister Arundika Fernando says the decision by the government to import copra for local coconut oil manufacturers, has not been enforced for more than a year owing to the prevalent dollar crisis.
The State Minister was responding to a question raised by Samagi Jana Balawegaya Parliamentarian JC Alawathuwala in Parliament yesterday.
MP Alawathuwala said more than 600 local coconut oil producers lost businesses due to the shortage of raw material and questioned the possibility of a mafia by coconut oil importers.
The MP said coconut oil owners’ factories have been closed with many workers losing jobs. MP Alawathuwala said mill owners made many suggestions to the relevant Ministry including over the import of relevant raw materials from Indonesia.
Responding, State Minister Arundika Fernando said the yield of coconut crops in the country is at 2.8 billion adding 1.8 billion of it is consumed with only one billion left for other industries.
The State Minister said there is a requirement of three billion coconuts for various local industries adding all issues arise due to the lack of crops.
He claimed the government hoped to protect mill owners adding however plans were hindered due to the prevalent economic crisis and shortage of foreign exchange.
He said they will resolve all concerns at the earliest.