Bigger tax on imported onions

by Dasun Edirisinghe

The government would soon increase the import tax on big onions, the Co–operative and Internal Trade Ministry said.

They said that discussions on the tax revision would take place at the Finance Ministry next week.

The current tax on imported big onions was Rs. 50 per kilo and it would be increased to protect the local producer, Minister Johnston Fernando said.

He said there had been a bumper harvest of big onions in the Dambulla area.

However, while Lak Sathosa purchased big onion at Rs. 65 per kilo, the private traders paid only Rs. 48 or 50 for it, Fernando said.

The minister said that the retail market price of big onions ranged between Rs. 60 and 85.

Lak Sathosa paid the highest price for big onions, he said, adding that there were special Lak Sathosa purchasing centres in the Dambulla and Sigiriya area to purchase onions.

However, big onion farmers protested on Thursday, blocking the Sigiriya – Inamaluwa road in Dambulla, demanding a better price for their produce.

They claimed that there were several malpractices at the Lak Sathosa purchasing centre at Kimbissa and demanded immediate action to halt it.

Minister Fernando denied the allegations, but promised an immediate inquiry.

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