Bakers To Decide On Pricing

By Raisa Wickrematunge

President of the All Ceylon Bakery Owner’s Association (ACBOA) N. K. Jayawardena said that there would be a meeting to decide how much the price of bread would increase by.
Jayawardena said the prices of bread looked likely to increase from between LKR 3 to LKR 5, depending on the outcome of the discussion.
The price of bread looks set to increase following the decision of wheat flour companies to hike up their prices.
Chief financial officer of Serendib Flour mills, Mohamed Riyal said that the price of wheat flour would increase by LKR 8.16 per kilogramme, including tax.
Riyal said that the price increase was due to several external factors. One was due to the increase in electricity costs. The fuel price hikes also created upward pressure. But the biggest factor had been exchange rate losses due to the depreciation of the rupee. ‘Last year, the rupee was 114 against the dollar. Now, a dollar is worth LKR 132,’ Riyal said. He added that the depreciation of currency had severely affected wheat flour companies like Serendib, leading to a hike in the cost of raw materials.
Riyal acknowledged that wheat flour had gone up in price in the not-too-distant past with heavy rains in Australia and fires in China putting pressure on supply.
However the exchange rate fluctuation had forced wheat flour companies to increase their prices, he said. Responding to Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade, Johnston Fernando’s recent comments that the Ministry wanted to focus primarily on paddy and thus were unlikely to intervene to subsidise the price of wheat flour, Riyal acknowledged that this made economic sense from the Government’s point of view.
‘It makes sense to encourage consumption of locally produced crops like rice. Wheat flour is largely imported,’ Riyal said.

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