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Govt.makes desperate moves to ease cost of living crisis

Sri Lanka government has taken a raft of new relief measures to ease the cost of living with food inflation on the rise.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to December accelerated to 14.2 percent in January 2022 from 12.1 percent in December 2021, with food prices up 25 percent, data from the state statistics office showed.

The Colombo Consumer Price Index grew 2.4 percent in the 31 days of January to 158.4 points.

Consumer Price Index CPI in Sri Lanka averaged 56.46 points from 1985 until 2022, reaching an all time high of 158.40 points in January of 2022 and a record low of 6.40 points in September of 1985

New moves  to tackle cost of living include offering Rs. 2,000 worth essential food packs to lowest income families and wheat flour at a concessionary rate to estate worker families.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved on Monday to provide 15 kg of wheat flour monthly at a concessionary rate to 115,867 beneficiary families working in the estate sector.

“The government will provide wheat flour at a concessionary rate of Rs. 80 which is sold at Rs. 120 in the market.” Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

He noted that the move was taken to ease the economic issues faced by estate families due to the unprecedented economic conditions. 

Gunawardena also pointed out that the initiative was a proposal by State Minister of Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure Jeevan Thondaman and it was presented on behalf of State Minister of Cooperative Services, Marketing Development and Consumer Protection Lasantha Alagiyawanna.

This initiative is included in the massive, but critical relief package worth Rs. 229 billion announced by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa last month. 

The Cabinet of Ministers also approved a proposal to provide Rs. 2,000 worth locally sourced essential food items relief packages to 40 identified low income families in each Grama Sevaka division on a monthly basis.

“These are the lowest income families in each Grama Sevaka division that are not included in the Samurdhi as well. 

On the recommendation of the relevant Divisional Secretariat, a digital card will be issued to the beneficiary family to purchase locally sourced essential goods worth Rs. 2,000 provided at concessionary rates via ‘home shops’ of their respective Grama Sevaka division,” said Trade Minister Gunawardena. 

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