Public report price hikes
Smaller retail outlets and some supermarkets are among a group of culprits suspected of hiking the price of certain goods by taking advantage of the coronavirus state of emergency (S.O.E.).
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour's Chief Executive Officer, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling confirmed that members of the public have been keeping the Ministry informed about sudden fluctuations in prices from retailers and supermarkets.
He said the wholesalers have not been affected.
The C.E.O. could not give a number of the reported incidents from the public, but said the Ministry has been undergoing inspections twice a week to ensure the prices are not unreasonable.
Prior to the S.O.E., the Ministry carried out inspections twice a month.
“I can say it’s mainly the retail shops and supermarkets that have been reported [by consumers],” Pulotu said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
“I can confirm that no one has been penalised so far and we are doing regular inspections now twice a week.
“The consumers that reported [price hikes] were not really complaining but were informing us that they have noticed the change in prices from the shops for chicken or turkey tail…”
The C.E.O. said the warning from the Ministry on price controls is to remind the business community to be considerate of the consumers and the current S.O.E. situation.
He urged the business community and consumers for a harmonised situation while the country implements measures to prevent the spread of the virus also known as COVID-19.
He added that high demand during the state of emergency can lead to retailers increasing prices of goods for fear of running short on supplies, while others take the situation as an opportunity to earn more profit.
The Ministry had advised wholesalers and retailers to avoid unnecessary price increases in goods and products on sale that may affect competition and compel customers to buy goods at unreasonably high prices.