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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2783

Sri Lanka Government to tighten policy on wheat flour importation

By Ashwin Hemmathagama - Asian Tribune Financial Correspondent

Colombo, 31 May, ( Government in its efforts to encourage the local paddy farmers while discouraging the heavy consumption of wheat flour is looking at the possibilities in revising the tax structure on wheat flour and wheat grain imports.

Ministry of Finance and Planning Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara yesterday disclosed this meeting the District Secretaries discussing the progress made on the imprest releases for paddy purchases this year.

“We need to uplift the local paddy farmers. In doing so the consumption of wheat flour should be discouraged. Having this in mind we are looking at revising the tax structure imposed on all wheat and wheat grain imports to Sri Lanka. With this process we will be a self sufficient nation in few years,” Treasury Chief said.

Currently Sri Lanka imports US $ 100 million worth of wheat flour annually which is levied with 15 per cent import duty. The wheat grain is imposed with 6 per cent import duty which will also be revised in the months to come.

Deputy Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya who was also present at the meeting said that Government is taking all possible efforts to uplift the local paddy industry. “We have 15,000 Farmer Associations backed by 545 Govi Kendra. During the first few months of this year government have disbursed Rs. 2,532 million followed by another Rs. 75 million to purchase paddy in Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Badulla, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Puttlam, Hambantota, Monaragala, Batticaloa, Kandy Ratnapura, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mulaitivu, Kilinochchi, Matale Districts.”

According to Central Bank statistics the paddy output in 2004/05 Maha season was increased by 20.5 per cent to 2 million metric tones., while the output in Yala 2005 season also increased by 28.7 percent to 1.23 million metric tones. Raising annual output by 23.5 per cent to a record 3.25 million metric tones in last year.

- Asian Tribune -

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