The milk powder importers still insist on a price hike of at least Rs. 260 for a packet of one kilo despite tax exemptions and by the slight drop of world market prices.
Earlier, they sought a price hike of Rs. 350 a kilo.
An industry spokesman told Daily Mirror the importers welcomed the government stepping in to stabilise the market by waiving off customs duty and port and airport levy. However, he said the impact of tax waiver would be only Rs.35 a kilo.
“Previously, the milk powder price remained US $ 4,300 a tonne. It has now dropped to US $ 3,800. We cannot make profits with the current retail prices in the local market until it plummets to at least US $ 2,900. By discounting tax waiver and the price drop in the world market, we still need upward revision of milk powder prices by Rs. 260 a kilo,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lasantha Wickramasinghe who is the Chairman at MILCO (PVT) Ltd said this is the ideal opportunity for Sri Lanka to boost local production and promote fresh milk production.
Mr. Wickramaratne told Daily Mirror controlled price on milk powder as an essential food commodity should be done away it. “Then, we can offer a fair price for local dairy farmers. People tend to consume powdered milk believing it is cost-effective than fresh milk. However, consumption of fresh milk is affordable as long as it is mixed with tea and drunk,” he said.
He said eight litres of milk are required to manufacture one kilo of milk powder.
(Source: Daily Mirror – By Kelum Bandara)