State of Emergency only for supplying essential goods at reasonable prices – Minister Ali Sabry, PC | Daily News

State of Emergency only for supplying essential goods at reasonable prices – Minister Ali Sabry, PC

Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC told Parliament on Monday that the President had declared a State of Emergency on food and essential supplies as the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Act could only be used to set controlled prices for food and imposed fines on errant traders.

The Minister said that the CAA Act No. 9 of 2003 only enables setting a control prices for goods and initiating legal action against traders who sell goods beyond the control prices. “Therefore, the only way to provide the people with essential food items at fair prices without any shortages is to enforce Emergency Regulations under the Public Security Ordinance,” the Minister said.

“When a controlled price is set, Court can be informed if any trader sells goods at high prices. The perpetrators will then be given some punishment at the end of the legal proceedings, or they will be fined,” the Minister said.

The Justice Minister said that traders hoard stocks to create shortages and increase prices. “They also use various methods to creep through the loopholes in the system. Imposing Emergency Regulations is the only way to protect the people and to provide them with essential food items in such a situation,” the Minister said.

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared Emergency Regulations on August 30 on providing essential foods to prevent market irregularities that could cause inconveniences to consumers. Concealing stocks of essential food items such as paddy, rice and sugar is one of such irregularities,” the Minister said.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), however, raised concerns that the State of Emergency has been imposed to control and restrict public protests.

Minister Ali Sabry, PC denied their allegations. He said that the State of Emergency only applies to matters pertaining to the supply of essential food items. “It will not undermine the rights of the people,” he said.

He said that under the Emergency Regulations, if traders sell goods at higher prices, the Government can take over such goods and distribute among the people at a reasonable price. 

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