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Sri Lankan inflation hits 17.5 % for February -a record high since 2015

COLOMBO, March 21 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka’s Department of Census and Statistics announced Monday that the overall rate of inflation for February 2022, as measured by National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) on year-on-year basis, stood at 17.5 percent.

This is the highest since 2015, when the NCPI was first released. The NCPI has weights based on consumer spending in the 2012/13 Household Income and Expenditure Survey and reflects new methods consistent with the best international practices.

Inflation calculated for January 2022 was 16.8 percent.

People stand in a long queue to buy kerosene oil at a fuel station in Colombo, Sri Lanka March 21. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

The higher inflation for the month of February 2022 was mainly due to the higher price levels in both food and non-food categories.

The year-on-year inflation of the food category increased to 24.7 percent in February 2022 from 24.4 percent in January 2022, and that of the non-food group rose to 11 percent in February 2022 from 10.2 percent in the previous month

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s All Ceylon Mask Manufacturers Association on Monday said that they would increase the price of face masks by 30 percent with immediate effect from the same day.

Wearing face masks in public places is mandatory under Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 guidelines and the Ministry of Environment stated that Sri Lankans used and disposed of about 140 million face masks in 2020.

The association’s president Vidura Algama said the decision was made due to the impacts of foreign exchange rate, as the material for producing the face masks is imported.

Algama said that the Sri Lankan rupee has devalued significantly in the last two weeks and the prices might again increase if the rupee continues to devalue.

Director-General of Health Services Asela Gunawardena said in February that Sri Lankans will have to keep wearing masks in the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission on Monday said relevant telecommunication companies have been informed to increase the rates of all international calls until further notice

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