The government has re-imposed taxes on food items, waived in the run-up to this year’s presidential and parliamentary polls.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Co-operatives and Internal Trade told that government was compelled to reintroduce taxes on several consumer items owing to increases in prices in the international market.
A spokesman for the Traders’ Association in the Pettah wholesale market told that the new prices would come into effect shortly when they import food items next but retailers have already jacked up prices.
With the reimposition of taxes, the price of a kilo of following food items has gone up as follows: dried sprats by Rs. 30, dried chillies by Rs. 20-25, red and big Onions by Rs. 10, potatoes by Rs. 10, garlic by Rs. 30, dhal by Rs. 2, peas, Chic Peas and green peas Rs. 15 and the price of a canned fish has increased by Rs. 85
Earlier this month, Lanka Sathosa prices of those food items were: dried sprats Rs. 275, canned fish Rs. 149, dried chillies Rs. 180, big onions Rs. 45, potatoes Rs. 45, garlic Rs. 320, dhal Rs. 145
Consumers were first struck by a gas price increase on May 6 with Shell gas going up to Rs. 1,769 (an increase of Rs. 219), while Laugfs went up to Rs. 1744 (an increase of Rs. 323). Earlier, a 12.5 kg cylinder of Shell gas cost Rs. 1,550 and a 12.5 kg cylinder of Laugfs gas Rs. 421.
Flour was increased by Rs. 3 a kilo a few weeks ago and as a result the price of a loaf of bread shaot up to Rs. 36 to 42.
Milk food importers, too, have requested a price increase from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA), while the Lanka Indian Oil Company is also requesting a price revision.
Chicken is now being sold for Rs. 580 a kilo in the open market though the controlled price is Rs. 350 with the government even contemplating importing chicken from the United Kingdom, USA, Australia and Brazil to end the prevailing shortage in the local market. island