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Brunei
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
30.2 C
Brunei
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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    Consumers, businesses feel price pinch on food, imports

    Lyna Mohamad

    Consumers and businesses alike are feeling the pinch on their budgets as grocery prices have increased over the past few months amid disruptions to the global supply chain.

    “Flour, cooking oil and a few other necessities in our daily lives used to be so affordable,” said public sector worker Rozy.

    “But now, it is so alarming to see our money go so fast after grocery shopping, and the next payday is still two weeks away.”

    She goes through the time-consuming task of carefully comparing prices of sundry items with other shops to find the cheapest option.

    “It is the only way to save money, or you won’t have enough to buy petrol for your car,” she told the Sunday Bulletin.

    ABOVE & BELOW: Housewife Len; and Businessman Ikhram. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD

    Meanwhile, housewife Len expressed her frustration suddenly having to go overbudget. “Don’t get me started on my monthly groceries,” she said.

    While saying she understood that there is a global rise in food and commodity prices, she felt locally available or locally produced items should not be experiencing the same hike. “It is not acceptable,” said Len.

    Government retiree Awang Manan said the hike in prices was not just on food but the majority of products imported by local businesses as well.

    “As consumers, we need to spend wisely and budget monthly for groceries. Just get what the family needs and do not waste,” he said.

    He said government agencies also play a role, such as the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics, which can monitor prices to ensure that retailers and suppliers are not price gouging.

    “The country should tackle the over-dependency on other countries’ good while at the same time resolve or make ways to assist those with low income, particularly big families,” he added.

    On the other side of the till, businessman Ikhram said despite cost increases, they are able to maintain their current pricing by cutting down on expenses.

    “However, it wouldn’t be possible for all businesses to do so. Every company would have its different needs, and most require supplies or materials from abroad,” he said.

    For food and catering business owner Hartiney, who has been in the industry for over 10 years, she has increased the prices on her menu “to survive”.

    She said she tries to keep the increase in price minimal, to cover the rising cost of ingredients and was grateful that most of her customers are understanding.

    “While we think of our customers, we also need to maintain our food quality and not dissapoint our customers, hence the slight increase in our prices is our only option. Alhamdulillah most of our customers are understanding.”

    She believes suppliers or other businesses also have their reasons for increasing prices and hopes customers would be able to adapt.

    “Its hard for most but it is not only Brunei facing this reality, but other countries as well,” she said.

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