July 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera says law will be strictly enforced against errant traders who are raising prices of essential items arbitrarily.
He said the government has decided to strictly enforce the law against traders who use the revision of fuel prices as a justification to raise prices of essential items and services.
Accordingly, the government will take steps to introduce a strong new bill to overcome the shortcomings in the existing Consumer Affairs Authority Act to protect consumer rights, said the Finance Minister addressing a media briefing recently.
According to the fuel pricing formula introduced by the government on 11th May, the fuel prices will be revised in line with the market price on the midnight of the 10th of every month.
When asked whether the government has a plan to protect the consumer if the traders decide to raise the prices of other goods and services related to fuel prices, the Minister said that fuel prices alone cannot be used to raise prices of goods and services.
"In our country not only fuel prices, if the prices of all goods and services are increased, the prices in the market will be increased immediately but if the prices are reduced the benefits are not passed on to the consumers," he pointed out.
"Therefore we need to create moral qualities in traders. We need to train them to do the same when the prices are reduced as when they are raised," he added.
Minister Samaraweera said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen is taking measures to draft the new laws required to protect the consumers from unscrupulous traders.
The Minister explained that a number of factors decide the price hikes on goods and services, and the prices cannot be raised based on fuel prices.
He said the price of goods and services should be increased carefully and fairly and the government is carrying out this responsibility with great care.