Sweet problem for confectioners
Sri Lanka’s confectionery industry is facing a severe crisis at present as their products have to compete with cheap low quality imports of chocolate, toffee and biscuits.
A research study conducted by the Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association revealed that confectionery items were coming into Sri Lanka from four Asian countries -- China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia at CIF prices as low as Rs 35 per kilo.
“Today’s’ price of sugar to confectionery manufacturers is around Rs 58 per kilo. When taking into account the raw materials and other production and administration costs, one wonders how an exporter from any of these countries could export their products to our country at these unrealistically low CIF prices,” Chairman of the Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association R.S Wickremasinghe told reporters on Friday.
He added that the only explanation one could fathom was that these were very low quality products or products that could be harmful were coming into the country. He added that out of 248 factories producing confectionery items around 150 are not functioning at present as a result of this crisis. Wickremasinghe noted that 200,000 jobs have been affected with the government losing around Rs 250 million in revenue due to under invoicing.
The association has already made a suggestion to the Sri Lanka Standards Institution to bring confectionery products under the ‘Compulsory Import Inspection Scheme.’
The association also urged the government to impose the customs duty on imported confectionery and other processed food products to be based on the Maximum Retail Price.