COLOMBO : The recent reduction of wholesale price of wheat flour will not be helpful to reduce the prices of bakery products, including the price of a loaf of bread, the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) said.
Association President N.K. Jayawardene told the Daily Mirror that the price of a loaf of bread was increased at a time when a kilo of wheat flour was sold at Rs.270.
He said, after the price of flour was increased to Rs.270, the price of a loaf of bread increased to a price between Rs.190 and Rs.200.
Later, main wheat flour importers increased the price of wheat flour by Rs. 13, but we decided not to increase the prices of bakery items, Jayawardene said.
“With the recent wheat flour shortage in the country, several importers used to import large stocks of wheat flour and used to increase the selling price of flour to Rs.420. “Our association had informed all relevant authorities in this regard, claiming that this was not legal, but our attempt proved futile, “he said.
“Earlier, we claimed that the price of a loaf of bread would be increased to Rs.300 if wheat flour reaches Rs.400. Therefore, government’s intervention is mandatory. But we never increased the price of bread by more than Rs. 200, “Jayawardene said.
“At the same time, while calculating the price of a kilo of wheat flour at Rs.400, and after the price was brought down to Rs.290, the importers again announced that they had reduced the price again by Rs.85. But we have to responsibly say that we can reduce the price of bakery products, including bread, only if the price of a kilo of wheat flour is brought down to below Rs.270 mark.
If any attempt is made to bring down the price of wheat flour to Rs. 250, we can also lower the prices of bakery products, including bread. Even today, the bakery owners have to buy a kilo of flour from the black market at more than Rs. 300.
Therefore, as a responsible association, we request the government to intervene in this matter and to take necessary action to reduce the price of one kilo of wheat flour to Rs.250.
Moreover, he said about 50% of the flour needed by the bakeries is bought from the two main flour companies.
Therefore, to make a revision in bakery products, including bread, the price of flour being sold by these two companies must be lowered. Otherwise, an official price revision for bakery items will be practical.
We never increased the price of bakery products compared to the price of flour sold in the black market, Jayawardene added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)