Announce selling price of wheat flour kilo as Rs.198 – CoPF



The Committee of Public Finance (CoPF) instructed the officials of the Ministry of Finance to announce that the selling price of a kilogram of wheat flour as Rs.198 so to avoid two major companies making additional profit and to protect the consumer.

This was discussed when the committee met on 15.08.2023 Chaired by Patali Champika Ranawaka, who was appointed as the protem Chair in the absence of the Committee Chair Dr. Harsha de Silva.

Attention was drawn to the Regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, No. 1 of 1969 published under the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2336/45 of 14.06.2023 which is to be approved by the Parliament.

The Committee Chair said that the officials of the Ministry of Finance said that the gazette published on 14.06.2023 was issued with the aim of preventing the various companies importing wheat into Sri Lanka by overstocking to make additional profit. Therefore, instructions were given to provide accurate data on existing and current stocks of bread flour to confirm how far the desired objectives have been achieved through the gazette published on 14.06.2023. Thus, the Chair of the Committee pointed out that there will be space to find out if any irregularity has occurred.

Report on Cement
Attention was also drawn to the Order under the Export Development Act Act No. 40 of 1979 published under the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2336/71. The order to increase the cess levied on the import of cement raw materials by 2 rupees per kilogram was discussed here. The Chair of the committee pointed out that the construction sector can be greatly affected by increasing the cess levy on cement raw materials. Furthermore, the Committee pointed out that there is a profit of nearly 700 rupees between the price of cement landed at the port and the selling price after deducting all taxes.

The Committee Chair ordered the officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction to give a report on the matter as it appears that there is a huge gap between the selling price of cement and iron and all related taxes are deducted.

No proper evaluation of social impact due to tax increases
Furthermore, it was revealed that the work of many houses, including low-income houses and middle-class houses, has stopped due to the housing projects started by the Urban Development Authority, and it was informed to provide a report on the impact on the construction industry.

The officials also pointed out that the construction of a house which was built at a cost of 12 lakhs earlier will cost at least 24 lakhs. The Committee also emphasized that the lack of proper evaluation of the social impact caused by the increases made by the Ministry of Finance for the purpose of increasing the Government’s income is a big concern. Furthermore, the Committee pointed out that the relevant departments should intervene for the regulation of cement prices.

The Order under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act, No.11 of 2021 published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2343/60 and the Order under the Strategic Development Projects Act, No. 14 of 2008 published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2339/08 were also considered. The officials of the Port City Economic Commission and the Board of Investments explained the issues including the non-adherence of concessional measures to attract investments.

Thus, subject to the above-mentioned recommendations, these four gazettes were approved by the Committee on Public Finance.


Exit mobile version