In addition to taxing rice imports, Sri Lanka also taxes alternative carbohydrates consumed by the people such as potatoes and wheat flour to re-engineer the food habits of citizens and force them to consume domestically produced rice under a nationalist-autarkist ideology.
Sri Lanka's state-backed inefficient farmers, who are given over 30 billion rupees of fertilizer subsidies from taxes collected from the people, cannot produce either rice or potatoes as efficiently as foreign farmers, including their counterparts in India or Pakistan.
Both India and Pakistan have farmers who produce goods cheaply enough to feed their fellow citizens at world beating prices as well as export and reduce hunger of the poorest people in other countries at fair market prices.
The finance ministry said a 50 rupee tax is also charged on large onion imports.
"Higher import tax is imposed on chilli, cowpea, green gram, peanut, sugar, kurakkan produced locally in order to certify a higher price for the production of local farmers, particularly, during the harvesting period," the finance ministry said.
"The country has been reached self sufficiently in production of rice and maize and local farmers have been encouraged to provide above goods in order to meet 50 percent of local consumption requirements."
"The Ministry of Finance and Planning has decided to increase special commodity levy on imported canned fish effective form the same date."
While food prices are kept up with nationalist taxes, Sri Lanka's rupee fell from 110 to 132 rupees to the dollar largely because imported oil was subsidized with bank loans which were ultimately re-financed with central bank credit (printed money).
Landowners in Sri Lanka's hill country are making large profits from renting lands to growers in a modern re-incarnation of the effects seen in 19th century Britain due to its 'Corn Laws'.
A controversy arose recently that some fish canning operations that have recently sprung up are using imported fish.
In Sri Lanka the state can tax people without consultation literally while they are sleeping through a so-called midnight gazette.
The mechanism is to provide rents to special interest groups and large monopolist tax arbitraging businesses, through the use of a system of taxation and enforcement inherited from European rule of the island.
Ironically, the 'Magna Carta' of Britain, the origin of modern constitutions through which the arbitrary power of the state and rulers was restrained and liberty of citizens began to develop, was triggered when England's King imposed half dozen taxes (clauses 12 and 14 relating to scutage) without consultation.