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“Unsustainable decisions could lead to demise of Ceylon Tea”

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Veterans of the tea industry have criticized the government’s recent decision to increase the minimum daily wage of workers to Rs. 1700, warning that such unsustainable decisions could ultimately lead to the demise of Ceylon Tea.

Speaking at a press conference held in Colombo yesterday (May 27), industry veteran and former Colombo Tea Traders Association Chairman – Anselm Perera declared, “If the Government continues to make short-sighted, stubborn decisions, Ceylon Tea will become a thing of the past.”

He pointed to the nationalisation of plantations, the banning of glyphosate, recent restrictions on fertiliser for commercial crops and the attempts to forcefully implement the minimum wage hike from next month as examples of harmful decisions.

“If labour costs rise to Rs. 1,500 we cannot sustain the industry. We will be forced to cut down on everything, including fertiliser, energy, transport, welfare which will ultimately reduce the quality of our tea,” he added.

Planters Association of Ceylon (PA) spokesperson – Dr. Roshan Rajadurai noted that the cost of production for tea and rubber would rise dramatically, with estimates indicating a minimum 45 percent increase in the cost per kilogramme of tea.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour – Manusha Nanayakkara and Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development – Jeevan Thondaman had stated that the Regional Plantation Companies that do not pay the minimum wage will have their leases terminated.

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No justification for coconut oil price hike – Coconut Development Authority

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The Coconut Development Authority has stated that there is no valid reason for a price increase of coconut oil in the local market.

CDA chairman – Prof. Roshan Perera has emphasized that there has been no tax hike on imported coconut oil.
Given the sufficient supply of coconut oil for domestic consumption, Prof. Perera asserted that any price increase is unjustifiable.

Additionally, a new regulatory program is being planned to control and stabilize coconut oil prices in the market, he added.

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Coconut oil price upped

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The price of a litre of coconut oil has been increased by more than Rs. 100, the National Consumer Front (NCF) has said.

NCF Chairman Asela Sampath said that the price of a litre of coconut oil has been increased by between Rs. 180 and Rs. 200. 

Accordingly, the current retail price of a coconut oil litre is Rs. 550.

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Registration compulsory for all money changers 

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The Central Bank has issued a notice making it compulsory for all money exchange institutions to be registered with the Central Bank and regulated by it. 

The CB order is in effect from 3 June 2024. 

The Central Bank states that all money changers who are currently not registered will now receive the opportunity to provide such services in a systematic and regulated manner. 

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