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DateLine Sunday, 6 July 2008

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Govt stabilises prices of essential food items - Minister

The Government has taken all steps to stabilise essential food item prices, said Trade Marketing Development Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena.

The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Act will be amended soon and agreements will also be signed with essential food producers and leading production and trading companies and Associations, he said.

The amendments to the Consumer Authority Act had been already sent to the Attorney Generalís Department, he said.

He said that the objective of the amendments was to give more power to the Consumer Affairs Authority. Under the proposed amendments, the CAA will have the authority not only to increase the prices but also to reduce the prices which are not provided for in the present Act, he said.

He said that under the 1979 CAA Act No. 1, which was introduced by the then Trade Minster, the late Lalith Athulathmudali, the CAA and the Minister in-charge of trade had vast powers to give more relief to consumers. Secretary, Trade Marketing Development Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Ministry Dr. R. M. K. Ratnayaka said that under the amendments to the CAA the Government can take action against monopolies and mergers.

The CAA signed an agreement with the All Island Poultry Association last week stipulating the maximum retail price of Rs. 320 for a kilo of broiler chicken.

Traders were selling broiler chicken at various prices ranging from Rs. 300 to Rs. 350 per kilo.

The Association called upon the Minister to increase the maximum stipulated price of broiler chicken from Rs. 260 to Rs. 350 per kilo.

The prices of most essential food items including rice, milk powder, B onion, salt, coconut and coconut oil have stabilised due to the steps taken by the Government, including the setting up of a strong marketing network islandwide such as the Lak Sathosa outlets and Cooperatives.

 

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