- 7 licences issued so far by Import and Export Control Dept.
- Firms place orders for around 4,500 tons of sugar immediately from India
- LCMA members decide to offer small share of imported sugar to support SMEs
The Government has begun issuing special licences to the confectionery industry to directly import sugar.
Two extra-large and five large-scale enterprises have already obtained the special licence to import sugar from India.
The issuance of the licenses took only a few days after the Government granted approval for direct imports last Friday (27).
The Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association (LCMA) and the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) have welcomed the Government’s decision.
The Government in mid-May suspended sugar imports due to the foreign exchange crisis, which led to a spike in prices and a shortage.
“Our members have already placed orders for around 4,500 tons of high-quality refined sugar types like Icumsa 45 and Icumsa 90 to be imported from India immediately. We hope to receive the shipment within one-and-a-half months,” LCMA President S.M.D. Suriyakumara told the Daily FT.
The confectionery industry alone requires around 5,000 to 6,000 tons of sugar monthly, whilst the bakery industry’s need is around 600 tons.
With the approval of the Finance Ministry, the Import and Export Control Department issues licences after vetting the quantities of sugar needed and financial viability of the firms, especially dollar availability.
Suriyakumar said the LCMA members would share a small quantity with Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) strictly as a supportive gesture given the financial difficulties faced by the industry.
“The members decided to offer a small quantity to the SMEs. This is strictly a helping hand to the fellow members of the industry. As large-scale companies, many of us are grappling with multiple issues, so are the SMEs. We don’t want anyone falling out of business. We are all in this together,” Suriyakumar added.
As per the LCMA, the formal local manufacturing industry is worth Rs. 85 billion and with the SMEs, the sector’s value is around Rs. 95 to Rs. 100 billion. Separately, Sri Lanka exports $ 150-200 million (between Rs. 30 and Rs. 40 billion) worth of confectionery products.