Posted on February 9th, 2021


Mr.Bandula Gunawardane, a minister of the government expressed in a recent press conference that the government has decided to reduce the prices of dhal (lentil), sugar, rice, and other several consumer items. He again stated in the parliament that the gazette notice has been canceled as no retailer sells goods for a controlled price.  Although the changes of prices of consumer items should be based on the price mechanism the government should get away from intervening in the determination of prices of consumer items. Food shortages created during the second world war forced to supply two measure of rice and in 1951 it became a political football and a serious protest in Sri Lanka under the leadership of Marxist parties conducted and Mr.Dudley Senanayake resigned from the Prime Minister position considering the difficulty to face the issue.  Rice had been a political football till J.R.Jayawardane changed it to eight-pound of cereal grains before the election in 1977.

The argument of J.R after coming to power in 1977, was in an open market system not only eight pounds, but more can purchase and he changed the policy with an accelerating Mahavelly project.  Why again cheap dhal (Lentil), sugar, and other consumer items came political platform is difficult to understand and it shows that politicians in Sri Lanka much enjoy using the prices of consumer items than developing policies for sustainable development.

The prices of consumer items are depending on various factors especially production and the quantity of supply. This is an automatic mechanism and the government should not intervene in this price mechanism and if Mr.Gotabaya Rajapaksa direct intervene making a production economy this type of retail issue will not come to politics.

The government gives subsidies and cash allowances to lower-income earners. In such a background, it is not necessary to intervene in determining the market prices and the role of the government is to educate people on how to determine consumer prices. If the government creates competition among retail sellers prices will drop without government gazette notifications.

Politics is a short term matter and economics is long term behavior. What is Mr.Bandula Gunawardane wants politics or economics? 


  1. Ratanapala Says:

    This minister, Bandula Gunawardana is becoming an embarassement to the Pohottuwa Government by the day. He claims he is an Economist and knows his subject better than many others at the parliament. I fully agree with Edward that he should leave pricing to the market mechanism and take to law enforcement to those who horde and make windfall profits. The low end income earners must be supported by the Government and the high end income earners should take a part of the burden along with the Government.

    Today Innala farmers are having a bumper harvest and no buyers. It is time the consumer learned to move with changing circumstances. Why wait for patatoes when Innala or batala is just as good or even better nutritionwise.

    In most countries, rise and fall of commodity prices is taken on the bump; when prices go high and the money supply dries up recession begins and all suffer.

    Bandula Gunawardana doesn’t practice what he preaches!

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