Sept 11, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s consumer affairs minister, cornered by rising prices and a falling rupee caused by money printing, lashed out at a Marxist party that helped engineer a collapse of government finances. Except for a handful of years like 2003, the Sri Lanka rupee has been on a free fall since the creation of the Central Bank in 1951 gave the government money printing powers.
Updated Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunewardene said the government could not subsidize all imported goods, such as milk power, fuel and fertilizer because there was no money to do so.
Milk powder importers have requested to increase the price of a 400gram pack to 270 rupees as a drought in Australia pushed global prices up.
Reporters then taunted the minister saying the current administration had come to power on the back of claims that a government was useless unless it could control the price of imported commodities.
“They are political slogans,” he said to the accompaniment of derisive laughter from reporters.
Gunawardene was at one time a deputy finance minister of a government that brought inflation down to low single digits with frugal fiscal policies.