President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday said there would be no reversal in the government decision to restrict import of turmeric and other such items.

“The step we have taken forward will not be taken back. By firmly sticking to the policy measures that have been taken, the cost of living will be reduced, the President said at the inaugural meeting with members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Cost of Living. The Committee is chaired by the President.

“Due to the restriction on imports, prices of turmeric and some other items have gone up but if these measures are eased, the objective of developing cloak agriculture and helping the farmers can never be achieved.

The President said that despite the short-term inconvenience’s consumers face, the measures taken to strengthen rural agriculture will not be reversed.

At the meeting, the COL committee discussed at length how the middle-class urban dwellers are being impacted by the rise in the cost of certain essential items.

“Around 40 percent who make up the rural farming communities must be assured of a regular income with a stable marketplace in the country for their produce.  If this is not done, there is now way to encourage the farmers and hence lifting restrictions on imports is not viable,” he said.

The President said that this will help save foreign exchange and lessen the debt burden in the country and pointed out that both the USA and India has imposed restrictions on imports in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ministers Bandula Gunawardana, Ramesh Pathirana, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, State Ministers Arundika Fernando, Shasheendra Rajapaksa, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Secretary to the President, P.B Jayasundera, secretaries to the respective ministries and other officials were present at the discussion.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at the meeting