Grocery shopping is now no longer an errand to be enjoyed by many. I think I speak on behalf of the majority of the Brunei population on the ever growing concern of the increase in the price of commodities. Even with authorities setting the benchmark for the selling of price controlled goods, especially household items like cooking oil, sugar and the like, it doesn’t help when retailers hike the price above the maximum rate set for specific goods.
One such store even posted a notice informing on the increase in the price of wheat flour from the usual BND2.40 to BND3, citing the rising cost of raw materials and freight charges behind the price hike.
Many would agree that the increase in the price of commodities has become an upward trend among retailers across the country. I was appalled on discovering the price of beef now is as high as BND18.90 per kilogramme when only a year ago, one could get the same quantity for just BND12. And it goes the same for the price of raw chicken now at BND4.70 per kilogramme and fresh Ikan Tenggiri currently selling at BND11 per kilogramme.
The increase in the price of household commodities has taken its toll on people like me, who fall into the low and middle-income category. We are already accustomed to the standard and automated reply of the emergence of COVID-19 being one of the main driving factors.
The social media has become a popular platform for the disgruntled public to voice out their frustration on the price hike of basic household commodities. It would be fair if consumers like us are given a justified reason behind the dramatic increase in the price of everyday goods.
A most relevant example is when Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah provided a detailed explanation on the increase in the price of bottled water in the country, not too long ago, when the matter was raised during the daily COVID-19 press conference.
According to the minister, the rise in logistics cost, such as plastic materials used in bottling water, is the major contributing factor for the price hike.
The public was assured that officers from the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (DEPS) had contacted local bottled water companies to cooperate by minimising the price increase. The same could be done to address the current issue of the increase in the price of household commodities.
Consumers like us would appreciate if there are any sound reason behind the price hike delivered in a formal setting as opposed to getting information from the word of mouth, or in this case, through keyboard warriors.
Ten years ago, with only BND50 inside the wallet, the trolley would be filled with a decent amount of basic household necessities compared to what we can get for the same amount these days. Maybe a large bottle of cooking oil, a sack of rice and a few cans of condensed milk with one or two packs of instant noodles to spare if you are lucky enough.