In the wake of the increase in prices of consumer goods and various items including in the construction industry, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has initiated the process to consider putting Maximum Retail Prices (MRP) to few crucial sectors such as cement and steel.
Earlier, the President had instructed the minister of trade to find ways and take immediate measures to bring down the cost of living amidst the economic instability.
Accordingly, the CAA had issued several extraordinary gazette notifications declaring MRP for several items and consumer goods such as on eggs and rice. However, the gazette notifications were revised on a number of occasions as well.
It was reported that the Authority has now initiated the process, following the instructions of President Wickremesinghe, to introduce a MRP on several other items especially on the construction industry due to a rapid increase of prices in the market.
Officials have already met with construction industry experts including from the Cement and Steel sectors to discuss in this regard.
It was revealed that steel manufacturers and cement manufacturers have enjoyed exorbitant profits for the last year since there was no MRP and they increased prices as they wished.
According to the data from the Construction Industry Development Authority, it showed that the average price of a 50kg cement bag sold by the public and private dealers had increased by 187 percent from June 2021 to June 2022. The same increased by 98 percent from January 2022 to June 2022.
Accordingly, the price of a 50kg cement which was sold at Rs. 950 is now sold at Rs. 3,200 while the price of a MT of steel which was at Rs. 125,000 is now over Rs. 600,000 per MT.(Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)