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Gov’t Shops to Sell “Affordable” Products to Combat Inflation Surge

A butcher in a Chiang Mai market prepares fresh pork and beef. (Photo: Bangkok Herald)
A butcher in a Chiang Mai market prepares fresh pork and beef. (Photo: Bangkok Herald)

Battling pandemic-fueled inflation plus price spikes for pork, chicken and eggs due to government mismanagement, the Commerce Ministry will open 3,050 shops to sell “affordable” consumer products.

Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the Cabinet soon will be asked to disburse 1.4 billion baht from the central budget to fund the government shops inside department stores, gas stations and community spaces.

Jurin was a the Lotus’s Rattanathibet superstore Saturday to ensure compliance with a ministry request for retailers to keep prices fixed for the time being. Upon inspection, the minister discovered that the retailer had put products in all categories on sale.

Jurin said his ministry is overseeing the prices of goods while adhering to a “balanced” principle that takes into consideration farmers, businesses and consumers.

The Ministry of Commerce has so far banned pork exports to increase domestic volumes, and is currently compiling a nationwide headcount of pigs to facilitate the release of pork into the market.

The ministry is also increasing the number of places where pork can be sold for no more than 150 baht per kilogram.

The commerce minister added that chicken producers have been asked to keep prices unchanged, but some have not been cooperating. More discussions are scheduled to be held with the Department of Internal Trade on Jan. 17.

Jurin said 1.4 billion baht from the central budget will be requested at next week’s Cabinet meeting to fund the sale of cheap products at 3,050 sites in department stores, petrol stations, convenience stores, wet markets, mobile trucks and community selling spaces. The sale will run for 90 days.

According to the minister, no upward price adjustment is currently allowed for general consumer goods. Commerce offices in each province have been dispatching personnel to inspect prices and deter hikes.