Tuesday, November 13, 2007

President of ‘Mawbima Lanka’ proposes solutions for soaring prices

President of the Mawbima Lanka Foundation Ariyaseela Wickramanayake has said that a local solution can be found to control the soaring world market prices of flour, milk powder and oil. He referred to the budget, which has brought many proposals towards increasing the local production and pointed out that Sri Lanka can stand up independently against this backdrop.

Everyone is disturbed that oil prices will reach 120 dollars. It is nothing new. He recalled the period when oil prices were 26 dollars. He said they were aware that the price would hike to a considerable extent. The challenge has to be surmounted. It will take sometime for Sri Lanka to extract oil. Mr. Wickremanayake queried whether the country required wheat flour. It is being consumed only in countries where paddy cannot be cultivated. Sri Lanka should cultivate both seasons with paddy as it has a substitute for flour. Consuming wheat flour should be immediately stopped. Referring to milk, he said the price in the world market increased last month from 2000 to 5000 dollars. He said between 3000 and 5000 cattle are killed daily. The president in his budget speech announced that 50 thousand rupees would be fined if a cattle is killed. This is a prudent decision. The payment of 40 rupees per litre is a wise decision taken to encourage dairy farmers. He was optimistic that Sri Lanka can become self sufficient in milk within a short period. It is not necessary to import milk for a green country such as Sri Lanka. The expenditure incurred on the import of oranges, grapes, milk powder and flour last year was more than the amount spent on import of oil. If this is stopped, it does not matter for the country by how much the price of oil increased.

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