Jan 17, Colombo: Minister of Trade Dr. Bandula Gunawardena today charged that the Polonnaruwa rice mill owners were planning to sell a kilo of rice at Rs. 300 by the Sinhala New Year and said the government is importing rice only in response to the Polonnaruwa ‘rice mafia’.
When there was no global crisis, the previous Yahapalana government imported 600,000 metric tons of rice in 2014, 286,000 metric tons in 2015, 29,000 metric tons in 2016, 745,000 metric tons in 2017, and 249,000 metric tons in 2018, the Minister said.
He said that after coming to power of the government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, only 16,000 metric tons of rice were imported in the year 2020.
The Minister said the importation of that rice was merely a measure to prevent the rice mafia from exploiting the consumer.
Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said that the representatives of the good governance government, who imported everything without any crisis, are spreading misconceptions about the current measures to provide relief to the consumers.