Wed 30 Aug 2006
Filed under: Business / Trade,News
Myanmar is taking measures to create uniform commodity prices across the country in a bid to bring down the skyrocketed prices which have sustained for months especially the prices of the most basic food items such as rice and edible oil.
Aimed at emergence of such uniform commodity prices, three commodity price control committees, representing the country’s three regions — the central, upper and lower parts, have been established and are seeking ways to bring down the commodity prices, local reports said. The three price control bodies are the Nay Pyi Taw (new capital) Commodity Price Control Committee (CPCC) Yangon CPCC and Mandalay CPCC. The committees will, in the first phase, work for the stability of the prices of the basic food items such as rice and edible oil, while in the second phase, it will deal with indispensable home- apply medicines and in the third phase with domestic service industry, the reports said.
To bring down the various rice prices which rose by 30 percent over the past months, special rice shops were opened as many as possible arranged by the state for low-income earners in Yangon city to enable them to buy rice at a rate far lower than the market rate. Up to now, such special rice shops have come to over 100 in number, according to the Yangon CPCC. The authorities claimed that rice is sufficient in Yangon city reaching a sufficiency rate of 115.62 percent. At present, rice prices in suburban areas are steady, said some local reports.
The Yangon CPCC also claimed that Yangon division, like Ayeyawaddy and Bago divisions, stands a region with rice surplus. In the division alone, the cultivated areas of monsoon and summer paddy extended as 12 million acres (4.86 million hectares) and there are 2.5 million baskets of rice in stock which are enough for the next seven months for the Yangon population of 6.2 million. In addition to the over-100 special rice shops lately introduced as one of the measures in coping with rising commodity prices, there had been about 3,000 ordinary rice shops in the Yangon municipal areas and rice is allowed to trade freely in the country, the authorities said. Meanwhile, the authorities attributed the recent temporary hike of rice prices to coinciding with the time of new harvest. “In Myanmar, rice production does not decrease. Rice is neither short in supply. It is natural according to the nature of the market that rice prices fluctuate at new harvest,” a high-ranking information official clarified. He blamed some unscrupulous traders with bullying the rice prices while taking the disadvantage, pledging to cooperate with private entrepreneurs to take steps through organizational and administrative means in this context.
Myanmar’s annual output of paddy was registered as 1,200 million baskets (about 25 million tons) against merely 650 million baskets ( about 13 million tons) in 1988. The annual consumption of paddy by the entire country is now only 810 million baskets (about 17 million tons), thanks to triple cropping round the year. In another bid to bring down the edible oil prices, the authorities made surprise check on the business undertakings of 2,335 oil dealers in Yangon division over the past months and 17 of them were revoked of their business licenses after being found not abiding by the related rules and regulations in their business run resulting in the rise of oil prices.
Myanmar started to adopt a market-oriented economy in late 1988, basically opening up its centrally controlled economy. Observers here believed that through the measures taken by the authorities, the commodity prices would remain steady to a certain extent and increased efforts are to be made in bringing down the commodity prices.