The Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES), Ministry of Finance and Economy in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood will be setting short-term maximum prices on whole chicken and chicken eggs for 10 weeks, beginning 1 April 2021 to 11 June 2021.

This maximum price directive is a short-term measure to mitigate increasing food prices and that the prices are not the endorsed retail price of the said goods.

The department in a statement said that the objective of capping the price levels is to prevent prices from further escalation, particularly resulting from reselling activities in the supply chain observed among some retailers.

Image: The Bruneian

“Retailers are encouraged to remain competitive in their pricing below the capped price and to observe ethical business conducts,” it said.

Moreover, retailers are also advised to devise effective rationing measures if deemed necessary in order to deter hoarding of these temporary price-controlled items. This is to ensure that goods are not just affordable but readily accessible by the public.

Consumers are reminded to act responsibly by not engaging in panic buying or stocking up goods beyond their normal consumption level, as this will result in market shortages, depriving other consumers who are really in need of the commodities.

Any queries related to the maximum prices directive can be channeled to the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), JPES through the Consumer Hotline under Talian Darussalam 123 or the DCCA’s mobile application PenggunaBijak.

Image: The Bruneian

Furthermore, JPES has also been monitoring a total of 11 categories of selected essential food commodities since December 2020.

“The current retail prices of these goods from more than 100 retail stores have been published weekly through the PenggunaBijak app and in the JPES official website. The price list also includes a summary of stores ranked by most competitive price of the goods being monitored,” the department added.

Besides publishing the retail price, JPES has been requesting relevant data from retailers for internal assessment in an effort to mitigate any alleged profiteering on these goods.

Those suspected to be pricing essential products unreasonably are required to justify their prices to JPES during the monitoring period.

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The publication of the retail price list of selected essential goods including high consumption household items is aimed to promote information transparency in the market so as to enable consumers to make informed purchase decisions and to be aware of choices and substitutes available in the market.

In addition, the DCCA reminds consumers to be considerate of others by avoiding panic buying, purchasing in reasonable quantities and refraining from spreading unverified reports that can cause public alarm.

Spreading false information is an office under Section 34 of the Public Order Act (Chapter 148), which carries three-year imprisonment and a BND3,000 fine.

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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