|Saturday, 8 February 2003|
The government assured yesterday that it had taken adequate measures to cushion the impacts of a possible outbreak of a short run war in the Gulf Region. It has already initiated a crisis management scheme to deal with the effects of a war.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake assured that prices of essential food items like rice, milk powder, sugar and wheat flour would not be increased due to an outbreak of war. The importers of infant food supplements and pharmaceutical were also instructed to come into purchase contracts with their suppliers to keep price levels stable.
He said a Cabinet paper has already been submitted on providing redress to consumers in case of a war.
"We understand the consumers are worried about this situation. But Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had given clear instructions to the Cabinet that impacts of an uncontrollable factor like a war in the Middle-East should not be passed on to consumers," Minister Karunanayake said.
The Country is expecting a bountiful rice harvest in few months and 50 per cent of sugar is imported from India, besides the buffer stock is available for 45 days.
However, he said that the worst impact of the war will be on petroleum products. "A barrel of crude oil is at between US $ 20 -23 at present. It will definitely go up if there is a war," he said.
Produced by Lake House