| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Sri Lanka in economic emergency as food prices soar

Sri Lanka has announced a state of economic emergency, after a steep drop in the value of the South Asian country’s currency caused a surge in food prices.

Authorities say they will take control of the supply of basic food items, including rice and sugar, and set prices in an attempt to control rising inflation.

The Sri Lankan rupee has fallen by 7.5 percent against the US dollar this year. The wide-ranging emergency measures came into effect on Tuesday.

A former army general has been appointed by the government as the commissioner of essential services, with the power to seize stocks held by traders and retailers.

“The authorized officers will be able to take steps to provide essential food items at concessionary rate to the public by purchasing stocks of essential food items,” the president of the island nation, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said in a statement.

“These items will be provided at government guaranteed prices or based on the customs value on imported goods to prevent market irregularities,” the statement added.