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Sagala should be questioned about bribing wheat flour companies: Anura

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Prima Ceylon (Private) Limited and Serendib Flour Mills (Pvt) Ltd, which funds the election campaign of some political parties, have set up a wheat flour monopoly in Sri Lanka and the people have to buy flour at steep prices so the companies can raise money for election campaigns, National People’s Power (NPP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said in Parliament yesterday (19).

He said the President’s Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake is the mediator of this process and that he should be questioned in this regard.

The MP said this while posing questions to the government under Standing Order 27/2 about the problematic situation faced by the bakery industry and the consumers due to the move to allow two companies to create a wheat flour monopoly.

“Today, about 6,000 bakeries operate all over the country providing a livelihood to about 500,000 people. Apart from rice, which is the main staple, wheat flour is the main ingredient of many types of food consumed by most of the people,”

“In spite of this situation, the government has banned the import of wheat flour without import licenses by the extraordinary gazette issued on 14.06.2023 and by the letter of 2023.06.16 of the Import Controller. So far no such licenses have been issued. Accordingly, two multinational companies–Prima and Serendib–have monopolized the industry.”

“However, comparing the price of wheat flour in the world market, it is revealed that these companies are making high profits in the sale of flour during the government’s wheat flour import ban. For example, when importing wheat flour from Türkiye to Sri Lanka, the price of one kilogram of flour at the port is only Rs.110 but these companies have decided the price at Rs.210.”

“The price of flour is decreasing rapidly in the world market and the value of the US dollar has depreciated from 362 to 301. What should happen now? This advantage should be given to the consumers but what did the government do? What the government did was to issue a gazette notice on June 14 and stop issuing wheat flour import licenses. Then Serendib and Prima will have a monopoly. It is well known that these companies fund election activities of political movements. When the price of flour in the world market is decreasing and the value of the dollar is also depreciating, who gave this bribe to Prima and Serendib? Sagala Ratnayaka should be questioned. This is what they did. How did he get the power of the Ministry of Finance to decide on taxes? How can he make decisions? How can he make an influence?”

“When the price of flour is decreasing in the world market, and the value of the dollar is depreciating, the benefit has not been given to the consumers. Instead, the companies raise funds for election campaigns and activities of various political movements. These are the people who pumped money in every presidential election. Everyone knows what they are trying to do. Wheat flour is being given to consumers at a high price so the companies can raise the funds for the upcoming presidential election,” he said.

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Tourists nowadays aren’t fools – Diana

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State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage has warned that stern action will be taken promptly against those who are hostile to tourists visiting Sri Lanka.

She was responding to the media over the recent incident where a vendor had been hostile to a tourist over an overpriced Kottu.

Noting that tourists nowadays are not idiots and cannot be fooled, the State Minister urged such persons to refrain from such behaviour without harming the reputation of Sri Lanka as a hospitable, friendly tourist destination as well the livelihood of other such fellow businessmen as well.

Related News : 

Hostile street food owner bailed (Update)

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Complaint lodged over Piumi Hansamali’s possession of Gota’s Range Rover

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Mage Rata organization president Sanjaya Mahawatta today, lodged a complaint with the Illegal Assets Investigations Division, calling for an inquiry into model Piumi Hansamali using the Range Rover vehicle previously used  by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“It is clear that an election is near and politicians tend to inject all their saved black money into the upcoming election campaigns and it has become a good time for the people who engage with money laundering activities. 

“Accordingly, we have some doubts on how Piumi Hansamal managed to get the Range Rover vehicle (CBH 1949) which was used by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“The question arises whether the Range Rover vehicle was given to the former president or if Gotabaya has given it to Piyumi,” said Mahawatta and further alleged that the model currently resides in a super luxury apartment, owns other properties and leads an exceedingly luxurious lifestyle.

Therefore, there are suspicions that Piumi Hansamali is being utilized for money laundering activities involving politicians’ black money, he charged.

“Therefore, we have lodged a complaint with the Illegal Assets Investigations Division. The initial complaint pertains to the Range Rover vehicle previously associated with former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and its transfer to Piumi Hansamali. This vehicle is estimated to be worth Rs. 100 million. Questions arise regarding how the vehicle came into Piumi Hansamali’s possession, the reasons behind its transfer and how she could afford such a valuable asset while primarily engaged in selling cosmetics. Additionally, it is noted that Piumi Hansamali’s has not made any television appearances lately.

“I personally know several individuals who rely on selling cosmetics for their livelihoods. But they struggle to cover their daily expenses with their modest incomes. However, Piumi Hansamali reportedly spends lakhs of rupees daily and leads a lavish lifestyle. 

“The Mage Rata organization is vigilant over the extravagant spending of politicians during election campaigns and their potential involvement in money laundering activities,” he stated.

“Hence, we anticipate an immediate investigation into this complaint,” he added.

(dailymirror.lk)

(This story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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SL hopes to continue discussion with bondholders

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State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe has said today (April 17) that Sri Lanka hopes to continue discussion with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.

Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, he has said.

The full statement of the State Minister is as follows :

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