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Govt reduces price of staple foods

Farah Ahmed
05 April 2018, MVT 10:18
STO Managing Director Ahmed Shareeh (C) speaking at a press conference held April 4, 2018. MIHAARU PHOTO / NISHAN ALI
Farah Ahmed
05 April 2018, MVT 10:18

Maldives government has reverted the price of staple foods to the rates it was before the hike in October 2016.

State Trading Organisation’s (STO) Managing Director Ahmed Shareeh at a press conference Wednesday evening revealed that prices of staple foods would be reduced again from Thursday.

He said that a lot of people were unhappy with the government’s initial decision to hike the price of foodstuffs, and that the government’s recent decision to reduce the prices was made after President Abdulla Yameen had considered the public grievances.

“This decision was finalised by the President’s Office,” Shareeh clarified.

As of Thursday, the price of sugar per kilo would be MVR 4 (down from MVR 6.8), the price of rice per kilo would be MVR 2.98 (down from MVR 5.26) and the price of flour per kilo would be MVR 2.98 (down from MVR 5.26).

The Ministry of Economic Development also imposed a maximum limit to the amount businesses can add as profits when transporting the foodstuffs outside Male. As such, a leeway of MVR 1.02 per kilo to the northern atolls, MVR 0.82 per kilo to the central atolls and MVR 1.21 per kilo to the southern atolls was allowed when transporting these goods from the capital.

Shareeh revealed that the Maldivian government spends approximately MVR 850,000 a day on food subsidies. He also assured that the government was confident in maintaining the lowered rates.

President Yameen’s administration faced significant backlash, even from the ruling party members in October 2016 when he decided to hike the price of sugar, rice and flour. The decision came after the Ministry of Finance had announced that it would be taking measures to overcome a growing budget deficit and meet revenue targets. However, poor households were compensated with cash handouts in place of food subsidies, by the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), though it was never revealed how it was monitoring the poverty rates in the country.

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