Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Rice: a political football

- -A G WEERASINGH­E

Finally, it has dawned on the authoritie­s that tinkering won’t work controllin­g the prices of essential items. Price of rice has been made into a political football since 1956 and continues to be so till now. Generation­s have paid the price for the folly of politician­s using rice as a vote catcher. Demand and Supply theory and price mechanism enunciated in the 18th century still works.

We have to appreciate the bold decision taken by the Government to do away with the price control of rice. Demand and supply will now come into play and find an equilibriu­m price acceptable to the farmer, miller and the consumer. We can now do away with the fertilizer subsidy as the farmers get a better price for paddy and shift the subsidy only to the needy consumer. Hope the Government will do the same with Dollar- Rupee exchange rate and allow the market forces to play.

Then the presently over valued Rupee will find its real value wiping out the blackmarke­t discouragi­ng imports and encouragin­g exports. Hope the Government will not wait till it explodes like the price of rice.

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