No oil worry, says Ravi K.

Feb 9 (InfoLanka) The government assured yesterday that it had taken adequate measures to cushion out the impacts of a possible outbreak of a short run war in the Gulf region.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake said a Cabinet paper was submitted three weeks ago on providing redress to consumers in case of a war and the government is presently seeking methods on cushioning the impact of a prolonged war on the economy.

"We understand that consumers are eagerly worried about this situation. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremeshinghe had given clear instructions to the Cabinet that impacts of an uncontrollable factor like war in the Middle East would not be passed on to the consumers" the Minister said.

Mr. Karunanayake assured that prices of essential foodstuff like rice, milkpowder, sugar and wheat flour, would not increase due to an outbreak of war and said that the importers of infant food supplements and pharmaceuticals were also instructed to maintain stable price levels.

He said that the country is expecting a bountiful rice harvest in the next few months and 50% of sugar is imported from India, while buffer stocks are available for 1 1/2 months.

Mr. Karunanayake was worried that the worst effect of the war would be felt on petroleum products. "A barrel of crude oil is between US$ 20 to 23 at present, but it will definitely go up if there is a war" Mr. Karunanayake said.