He said this while participating in a programme launched by the UNP to provide relief to the people affected by the lock down of the country due to the COVID-19 in the Chilaw area.
He said an era of queues has been created. “At the moment, we have to wait in line for vaccinations as well as shopping. People have to wait in queues to buy goods from the cooperative, the queue to buy cement. Now with the situation when the import of goods is also disrupted, if they are not enough, people have to go back to the Seventies,”he said.
“You remember in 77, how you were going to buy a pound of bread, how you were queuing up to buy a piece of cloth, and how you were going to buy a bicycle, a car, so this new generation will have to experience it again. Consumers are experiencing a very sad situation due to these rising commodity prices.”
“623 items have been restricted due to imports. There are rules that the entire amount must be deposited to open a Letter of Credit (LC). Can you tell me how many businessmen who can do such a thing are there in this country? Because of this the little man does not get to raise his head. As the shortage of goods arises when it comes to buying goods, certainly traders are anxious to increase the prices of goods.”
“These days a lot of work is being done by groups such as the Commissioner of Essential Services to raid shops, warehouses and mills in the private sector, and also look into price controls. That’s very good. There must be price controls to alleviate the suffering of the people. But it should be common to government institutions as well. Why is the government afraid of supermarkets, Co-op Cities and the CWE and not raiding them? “Need to go to those places and see if the government price guaranteed goods are sold at the controlled price. According to the information we have, some government agencies sell goods beyond the controlled price and then the government does not enforce the law. It’s not one law, one country, so it’s a different process,” he said.
Chilaw UNP organizer Steven Fernando and Chilaw Municipal Councillor, Attorney Nihal Sumanadheera were also present on the occasion.