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Over 20% price increase slapped on local canned fish shuts down 16 factories -SLCFMA

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A very unfavorable pricing formula for local canned fish has brought the industry into a standstill shutting down 16 local canned fish manufacturing companies jeopardizing the livelihood of over 1 million people, Sri Lanka Canned Fish Manufacturers Association (SLCFMA) cautioned, calling a press conference in Colombo recently.

The association said while a border tax of Rs 200 is put on 1 kilo of imported canned fish, an additional tax of 18% is put on a local canned fish tin which increases the price by Rs 125. That amounts to Rs 400 on a local kilo of fish, which is a 20% increase on a local canned fish tin over an imported canned fish tin price, SLCFMA President Shiran Fernando pointed out.

“We are an import substitution and if we did not start manufacturing canned fish in this country Sri Lanka would have been spending Euro 80 million annually importing canned fish. But we stopped that. Now again it’s going to go back to the same thing. Ten years of hard work is gone. Every container of imported goods is a container of unemployment of our people,” Fernando cautioned.

Dr. Kapila Balasooriya, Secretary SLCFMA said all 16 of their factories have now come to a close due to the uncertainty caused because of the price discrepancy between locally manufactured canned fish and imported canned fish. Dr. Balasooriya said they urge only a level playing field and requested the government to increase the CESS on imported canned fish to Rs 500 per kilo from the existing Rs 200 to create a level playing field soon. Failure to do so will result in dire consequences to the local fisheries industry jeopardizing the livelihood of 1.2 million people.

The association pointed out that during the period November to December 2023 over 5.4 million canned fish had been imported to the country and several more containers were heading to Sri Lankan harbours. A total collapse in the local canned fish industry will cost the country over Euro 80 million annually, further exhausting the country’s foreign reserves, the association said. MFJ

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