formula irks trade
Some importers and traders say the Pettah ‘mafia” in the import-export trade will be the main beneficiaries of a new government proposal to cut prices of essential commodities.
“These are chaps who would benefit. They control the market and it’s they who would dominate,” said a Colombo trader saying Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development and Consumer Affairs has come up with a lopsided policy.
He said the Pettah trading community will control the imports of these selected commodities and lead to complications where other traders would probably purchase from the lucky 10-15 importers and re-sell these products with a small mark-up. “The consumer will not benefit.”
Irate traders said the import policy also comes at a time when pulses and other crops are ready for harvest in India – a time when prices fall. “It is disadvantageous to fix prices during a period when prices are already seen falling,” the trader said adding that the market should be freed so that everyone competes equitably thereby providing advantageous prices to the consumer.
Traders said ultimately the Treasury will end up losing revenue from tax concessions while a few importers benefit.