In light of the second wave of COVID-19 in Brunei, the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) has increased their price monitoring efforts on essential goods since 7th August including face masks, hand sanitizers, cooking oil, rice, baby, chicken, beef, eggs, and others.

According to the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah that the price list of essential goods in Brunei, the companies that carry them as well as their available stock is accessible to the public through the mobile application, PenggunaBijak.

Members of the public are urged to use the PenggunaBijak app to compare prices of goods and weigh their options, added the minister adding that the price of goods however will vary from one store to another depending on the availability of supply as well as quality.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew went on to explain that due to the current situation affecting the nation, the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics in collaboration with Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) have also taken stock of essential goods including face masks and hand sanitisers at the retailer as well as supplier level and the findings are as such;

– The country’s stock of fragrant rice (Beras Wangi) is at an adequate level and has been increased to last eight months.
– The supply of chicken, beef and eggs are also at an adequate level.
– The supply of other goods such as face masks, hand sanitizers, cooking oil and baby milk powder are also found to be at an adequate level in the Bruneian market especially at a retail level.
– At the supplier level, importers of goods such as cooking oil, baby milk powder, frozen food and canned foods have been found to have sufficient stocks, expecting to last for one to three months depending on the products’ shelf life. Importers are currently seeking to diversify their stock by obtaining alternative supplier or brands to reduce impact on prices as well as supply chain disruptions.

He continued that considering items such as face masks and hygienic products are basic necessities during this pandemic, the minister advises retailers to sell such items at reasonable and affordable prices.

“Should the price of goods be too high and unreasonable, the DEPS will instruct retailers to present information and justification on the increase in price,” the minister explained.

“Retailers are also advised to consider temporary measures such as rationing goods to ensure adequate supply and accessibility to the public,” he added.

He then called for continued cooperation from companies to provide accurate and honest price and stock information as giving false information to civil servants is punishable offense under Chapter 177 of the Criminal Penal Code, which carries a jail term of up to 6 months or a $4,000 fine, or both.

To report any issues relating to unethical business practices, the public can contact DEPS via Darussalam Line at 123 or WhatsApp to 8333123. Consumer complaints can also be channelled through PenggunaBijak or e-mail to aduanpengguna@jpes.gov.bn.

This article was first published on 21 August 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 155

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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