COLOMBO, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- Sri Lanka's Plantation Ministry is planningto impose a tax on all palm oil products in the forthcoming budget in aneffort to curb increasing palm oil imports.
Ministry sources were quoted as saying in the Daily News that the step wasaimed at improving the country's coconut industry which has been severelyaffected by palm oil imports.
The paper said the ministry had proposed a 3,000-rupee (100 Sri Lankanrupee=RM3.81) import tax on each tonne of palm oil imported.
Annually Sri Lanka imports a substantial amount of palm oil for cookingpurposes. Palm oil is also produced locally -- a recent agricultureproduct -- but in small quantities.
Official said palm oil imports had discouraged the local coconut oilindustry.
The quality of the palm oil is also not good, an official said "Thegenuine palm oil which is equal to coconut oil in quality is produced outof the kernel of the palm. However, most palm oil brands imported to SriLanka are those produced from the husk. But consumers are unaware ofthis," state-owned Coconut Cultivation Board chairman, H.A.J Gunathilakasaid.
An estimated 550 million rupees is expected to be collected out of theproposed import tax which is to be spent on improving the coconut industryand other related industries.
The paper didn't specify whether this was a new tax or an increase in thetax rate.