The Cabinet Subcommittee on Economic Management headed by the Prime Minister has decided to import 100,000 metric tonnes of rice monthly until the next Sinhala and Tamil New year.
This is in a bid to lower the prices of rice to a level which is affordable to the consumer during the festive season.
The annual rice requirement of the country is above 2.4 million metric tonnes. About 670,000 metric tonnes of rice which is equal to 30 per cent of annual requirement, has already been imported to the country during this year.
The Government has also decided to grant permission to any private organisation to import rice to make ample stocks available in the market during the festive season.
The validity period of special tax of 25 cents imposed on a kilo of imported rice has been extended till March 31, 2018.
Arrangements have also been made to supply essential commodities including dhal, canned fish, big onions, potatoes, sugar and sprats to the local market. The importers of such essential commodities to the country have given an undertaking to the government that these consumer items will be made available in any part of the country at imported prices.
The government is to grant relief to the importers who will have to bear additional costs including import duty and storage costs.
The government has also granted permission to coconut industrialists to import coconut and tax on import of coconut meat has also been lifted to meet the higher demand for coconut in the open market.