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    CWE supplier selection system scrapped Featured

    February 12, 2015

    The Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and Minister of Food Security Gamini Jayawickrema Perera scrapped the previously appointed (only) five supplier team that undertook to supply to the entire country through CWE

    In a major development in Sri Lanka’s wholesale market pricing-and thereby the critical Cost of Living-the country suddenly routed a tight grip held on the sole and apex wholesale market entity by a select group of suppliers so that budgetary relief finally reaches the consumer -and a powerful Lankan retail supplier collective of large capacity that was excluded from the supply chain promptly lauded the government for opening the supply chains far and wide at last.

    “Only last night I came to know about this limitation faced by our wholesale suppliers. Today we scrap the previously appointed (only) five supplier team that undertook to supply to the entire country through CWE. Instead, we open the supply chain to a larger number-more than 70 wholesale suppliers present here” announced Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 11 February.

    Minister Bathiudeen and Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Minister of Food Security were addressing a packed gathering of more than 70 top national level, large-scale, wholesale suppliers to Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE-SATHOSA) under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. CWE is the main government corporation that intervenes in the control of prices of essential consumer items in the market. CWE can also import and distribute commodities to stabilise prices. When no reasonable price is offered for local produce, the CWE purchases products directly from producers and distributes to consumers.

    “From now onwards I and Minister Jayawickrama will both work together to make HE the President Maithripala Sirisena vision of good governance and transparency to prevail in the consumer market” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “The relief given by the interim budget by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has helped to greatly ease the cost of living of the people. But some retailers have not reduced the prices yet. Today we like announce of a new initiative to control prices by next week-in that to correct this, we will bring back the transparent tender system starting next week.

    "Today we scrap the previously appointed (only) five supplier team that undertook to supply to the entire country through CWE. Instead, we open the supply chain to a larger number-more than 70 wholesale suppliers present here-so that a the benefit of a wider supplier participation will relieve any monopoly control and bring government’s budgetary benefits to the Lankan consumer at last. Only last night I came to know about this limitation faced by our wholesale suppliers and that is why I called all of you and I thank you for coming here at short notice..”

    “Minister Rishad and I want to implement this together since we believe that it is very important that budgetary relief by our government reaches our consumers. We came to you on a pledge of good governance and we will fulfil this” said Minister Jayawickrema, and added: “We also request you to report the daily retail market prices of goods to our operations room directly. We are appointing a committee to review the CWE supplier list. From now onwards, we also want to meet you face to face on a monthly basis to address your issues. Both Minister Bathiudeen and I are open to you always and ready to speak to you any time of the day.”

    Nihal Seneviratne (Essential Items Importers Association of Sri Lanka-EIIASL) addressing the Ministers said: “We thank both Ministers for this initiative. Wholesale supplying is highly competitive in Sri Lanka. But now the retails prices have gone out of control.” EIIASL led by Seneviratne supplies more than 90% of imported products on wholesale to the country’s retail network.

    “We are very happy” declared an enthusiastic Wimal Fernando, Treasurer-SME Industry Association of Colombo District under National Chamber of Commerce and Marketing Executive, Harsha Travels and Tours as well as supplier of sweets/confectionaries to SATHOSA, addressing the Ministers, and added: “Meetings between Cabinet Ministers and Market Suppliers should be held regularly. In fact the last meeting of this nature was held under Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle (around 2004)! This is the first time we are able to speak to you directly since then.” Fernando has a record of continuously supplying to SATHOSA for almost twenty years.

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