Confectionery industry risks extinction-LCMA | Daily News

Confectionery industry risks extinction-LCMA

Sanitha Perera, Adrian Fonseka, Ramya Wickramasingha, Shanasz Hakeem, Chairperson and Quintus Perera in the podium. Picture by Fizel Jabir

Local confectionery industry could vanish jeopardizing the livelihood of over half a million industry dependents, alleges Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association (LCMA).

Speaking to media at the end of the 24th AGM on Friday in Colombo, the LCMA alleged that the local confectionery industry could extinct if FTA’s were signed before establishing a safe guard mechanism such as passing the Anti Dumping Bill (ADB) in Parliament. Ironically the ADB which has been given the nod way back by the Cabinet has not yet being placed in the Order Paper of Parliament under mysterious circumstance and was apparently lying at the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, lamented the LCMA.

The LCMA said if FTA’s was signed confectionery goods from overseas could be marketed at a very cheaper price in Sri Lanka, less than Lankan products because local manufacturers had to pay heavy duties for raw material imports. For example the tax on vegetable fat which is an essential ingredient is as high as 170%. However for finished product for example biscuit the import tax is only 35%. Moreover LCMA members export around US$ 200 million worth confectionery goods per month to over 55 countries and with higs taxes that lead to high prices, Lankan confectionery goods will not be competitive in the world market.

The ADB is a very important piece of legislation and it is strange that the government which tries to fast track the signing of FTA’s is not giving the same importance to have a safe guard mechanism for the local industry prior to that, opined LCMA.

The association therefore requests the government to remove the cess of Rs 150 per kg imposed on whey powder and reduced the cess of Rs 50 per kg on vegetable fat imported for industrial users. It also requests the complete removal of cess for packaging material, HS Nos and and other polyesters, HS No also request to reduce duty to 5%, on flavours, HS No and remove cess of 30% and reduce duty to be of par with on of others HS N21.03.90.90.

LCMA urged the government to clear doubts of the local industrialists by providing answers to their queries and for a start answer the key factors raised by the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE).

The LCMA also advocated that it was time that a new food Act be brought in without further delay to replace the Food Act of 1980.

The association also requested that all confectionery products that come into Sri Lanka be tested by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI).

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