HCM City market authorities crack down on price gouging, other dubious practices

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2022 08:21

A customer shops at a supermarket in HCM City. City authorities and businesses are working to keep the prices of foods and many other essential goods steady. — VNA/VNS Photo

The HCM City Market Management Department said it has been working closely with other agencies to strengthen oversight of traditional markets to ensure traders there sell essential goods at fair prices.

Due to increasing petroleum prices, businesses had asked to increase prices of cattle meat, poultry meat and eggs by 2-3 per cent, 6-12 per cent and 6-8 per cent.

The city Department of Finance approved a 5-10 per cent increase in the prices of poultry meat and eggs from April 2.

But the prices of rice, pork, medical equipment required to treat COVID-19, and others remain unchanged.

The Market Management Department will crack down on price gouging, products of unknown origin, fakes and low-quality goods, speculation, hoarding, and taking advantage of the pandemic to increase the prices of medical equipment and medicines.

In the first three months of the year, the department found 168 violations involving fake, low-quality or pirated goods worth more than VND14 billion (US$610,400), and collected fines of VND3.8 billion ($165,700).

The finance department said costs have increased by 20-30 per cent for many businesses due to the hike in fuel prices, and so they have no choice but to increase prices.

Yet they are trying to join hands with the city authorities to keep the prices of essential goods and foods steady, it said.

So far, 34 firms have registered to take part in the city’s price stabilisation programme for 2022-23.

It entails selling their products at 5-10 per cent lower than market prices.

Pham Thanh Hung, deputy chairman of Ba Huan Joint Stock Company, said his company has increased the weight of chicken eggs to 65g from 60g.

The price of eggs has only increased by around 5 per cent though costs have risen by more than 20 per cent, he added.

VISSAN Joint Stock Company, which sells fresh and frozen meats and processed foods, said it has kept pork prices steady to stimulate demand though costs have increased by 10 per cent.

Rice prices are also stable at VND14,500-17,000 ($0.63-0.74 ) per kilogramme.

Four dairy companies, Vinamilk, Nutifood, Central Retail Viet Nam Group, and TH Food Chain JSC, are among those participating in the price stabilisation programme and are keeping the prices of milk and milk powder steady.

The programme also includes foods, medicines, medical equipment, and items needed for pandemic control like masks and antibacterial hand sanitisers, which are sold at 3-15 lower than market prices. — VNS

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