Under a backdrop of a constantly depreciating Sri Lankan rupee, shortage in foreign exchange, and deficit of essential goods, the government has decided to remove its price controls. Following the removal of price controls on Friday, the prices of essential goods such as milk powder, cement, and rice rose exponentially.
The new price of rice is within the range of LKR 115 – LKR 165, a 17-32% increase from the control price. The price of wheat flour rose by 11.5% to reach the new price of LKR 97. At the same time, the price of imported milk powder also saw a significant increase. A 400g milk pack and 1 kg milk pack will now be sold at LKR 480 and LKR 1195, respectively.
Everyday food items such as bread, kottu roti, fried rice, and even a cup of tea were not spared the rising cost. The All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association increased the price of a loaf of bread by LKR 5. The All-Island Restaurant Owners Association increased the price of lunch items such as fried rice, kottu roti, and milk tea by LKR 10.
Lito Gas hiked its prices as a 12.5 kg cylinder will now be sold for LKR 2675, an LKR 1257 (84%) increase from its previous price. Litro’s competitor Laugfs Gas has also hiked its price by LKR 984 to sell a 12.5 kg cylinder at LKR 2840. Both companies may be attempting to shore up additional income from their sales as they were under strict price controls for some time. However, this sudden increase in prices will significantly affect families who have had to operate under a reduced income due to the pandemic.
The price of Siam City Cement also took a hike as the price increased from LKR 1098 to LKR 1150.
Many point out the failure of the government to control the spread of the pandemic and its financial mismanagement as the primary causes for the need to increase prices of essential goods. While the government continues to state it is trying its level best to control the situation, ordinary citizens will have to continue living with these unfavorable conditions for the foreseeable future.
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