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Sri Lankan government to continue subsidising essential foods until April 2018

Sri Lanka's prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday announced the government would continue to subsidise essential items until April 2018 due to the high price of staples such as rice and coconuts. 

“The expected rains in November and December were inadequate. Therefore crop harvests will be low next year. I and the President met the ministerial committee on the cost of living. We invited private sector representatives as well. We did so because the government does not have an adequate machinery to cover all areas geographically. We decided to provide rice, dhal, sugar, potatoes, onions, sprats and long beans at subsidised prices. The rates will be decided on the landed price,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

“We as a government strive towards resolving the issues faced by this government. One of the major issues faced by the people today is the high cost of living. Prices of essential goods have risen rapidly. There is a crisis with regard to climate. We have not received monsoon rains on time. This has affected the cultivation of food crops. Some farmers kept away from cultivating because of the drought. We do not know whether the climatic changes would create a long term issues. As a precaution for this crisis of price hike, the government has decided to provide essential items at subsidised prices till the national new year. High prices of rice, coconuts and vegetables is a major issue. The government is fully aware of it. It is essential to resolve this matter as soon as possible.”

"We will decide on the next step in April as it would be possible to make a fresh assessment on the climate at that time. Several key private sector organisations will also play a role in providing essentials at a subsidised prize. Private sector suppliers of essential goods have said they would be able to implement the new scheme in two week’s time,” he was quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying.