The government’s decision to import rice has nothing to do with any shortcoming of rice production in the country, said Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena.
Rice is being imported in a move to defeat the mafia in rice production aided by certain mill owners in Polonnaruwa who purchase rice stocks from the farmer and sell at their own discretion, Gunawardena said.
These mill owners have planned to soar the price of rice up to Rs. 300, which must never be allowed to happen, he added.
The Trade Minister further said that rice had been imported even during the tenure of the Good Governance Regime, when there were no such crises.
600,000 metric tonnes of rice was imported in 2014, 286,000 metric tonnes in 2015, 26,000 metric tonnes in 2016, 745,000 metric tonnes in 2017, 249,000 metric tonnes in 2018 and 16,000 metric tonnes in 2020 under the present regime, Gunawardena revealed, adding that the amount, in comparison, would be very small.
Those who had imported millions of tonnes of rice back then are spreading false information against the government’s objective of relieving the public and saving them from the mafiamen, he noted.