April 06, 2007 (LBO) – The prices of essential food items that have been set a retail price during the New Year season will not be affected if fuel prices go up since all have already been imported, a government minister said. Food items such as chillies, onions, dhal, potatoes, sugar, types of grain, sprats and canned fish have been set a pre-agreed maximum price with traders during the New Year month of April.
April is also a high-inflation month as people spend more money in the run up to the Sinhalese and Hindu New Year holiday season.
Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena told reporters prices of the essential food items will not be affected from fuel hikes since all the necessary stocks have already been imported to Sri Lanka.
Around April 20, the ministry will discuss with the dealers on setting a price, taking into consideration the price difference due to the exchange rate, interest rates and the transportation cost. The prices might change, Minister Gunawardena said.
Due a prevailing weakness in Sri Lanka’s macro-economic management the country makes shock adjustments to fuel prices as a monthly price adjustment mechanism is still not in place, giving excuses for economic players to jack up pric