With the forex crisis worsening, there was a need for economic emergency in Sri Lanka to contain food prices. The President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared a state of emergency to contain the rising inflation which resulted after a steep fall in the value of the country’s currency which soared the food prices.

The state of emergency was declared under the public security ordinance to avoid the hoarding of supplies of necessary items such as rice and sugar. A former army general has been selected as the commissioner of the essential goods by the government who has the power to seize the food stock which is being held by the traders or retailers to regulate their prices.

The power is given to the military to oversee the actions to ensure that the essential items and services such as rice and sugar are sold at the prices guaranteed by the government or the prices based on the import costs at customs and to prevent hiding of stocks.

There was a need for an emergency due to the sharp rise in prices of sugar, rice, onions and potatoes. There has been a shortage of milk powder, kerosene oil and cooking gas which led to the formation of long queues outside the stores.

The measures are also taken to recover the credit owed to the State banks by the importers. Recently, due to high global market prices which are driven by the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the decline of local currency causing the prices of essential goods to skyrocket.
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