News First | 20 May 2018
“FTA violates President’s program for food production” – Aruna Kantha Bandara
By Nathasha De Alwis
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Sri Lanka Singapore Free Trade Agreement has raised serious concern among many industries.
Criticism against the Sri Lanka Singapore FTA has not died down as more controversial details about this agreement are being exposed.
At present, the fate of the farmers following the implementation of this FTA is being widely discussed.
National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation, Namal Karunaratne stated that Sri Lanka Singapore Free Trade Agreement provides tax concessions for paddy and this will completely dismantle their paddy farming industry, the situation will be such that they will have to depend on other countries.
He said when the Kala Wewa over-flows only 50% of the water is provided and they do not know whether this is also part of this plan.
However the Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera states that as far as he is aware, this will not have an impact on the agriculture sector as Singapore agriculture products will not be produced.
According to the GMOA Executive Committee Member, Dr. Dhanushka Devapriya, the 1000 paged agreement was tabled in Cabinet on the 17th of January and was signed on the 23rd of January.
He questioned so, did any the MPs or Cabinet Ministers get any time to read through the entire agreement? Did the cabinet ministers approve this after understanding it well? Was their an approval or not?
Will the Sri Lanka Singapore Free Trade Agreement have an impact on the Food Production National Program which is implemented under the guidance of the President?
Aruna Kantha Bandara of the United Professionals’ Movement stated that this agreement completely violates the President’s program for food production and the President has implemented a program to put a stop to importing food items in the coming three years.
According to him, there are articles in this agreement for tax-free paddy importation in 12 years and for the tax-free importation of fruits in 06 years.
He said that they do not know if the President is aware of this situation but, this agreement completely violates the President’s program for food production.