Sri Lankan rice traders protest price controls

April 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan traders have protested against a government decision to impose price controls on rice, saying they cannot sell at a loss stocks bought at higher price. K Palaniyandi, chairman of the Pettah Traders Association, representing traders in the capital Colombo, said they hope to have talks with the government today to sort out the matter.

The government set maximum wholesale and retail prices for rice with effect from Wednesday midnight in an effort to rein in rapid rice price hikes and bring inflation under control.

Under new regulations issued by special gazette publication, the retail prices of different varieties of rice have been set at between 55 and 70 rupees per kilo.

Palaniyandi said some varieties of rice had been bought at the wholesale price of 80-85 rupees a kilo.

These could not be sold at the maximum price of 70 rupees for the samba variety of rice as stipulated by the government in a gazette notification on Wednesday night, he said.

Several traders in Colombo had closed shop Thursday in protest against the government move and Palaniyandi said the association had appealed to them to re-open.

Consumer affairs mini