State Trading Organization (STO) is set to pay the transport costs of all staple foods in order to provide them at the same cost in all parts of the Maldives, as per the address delivered by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in the inaugural session of parliament.
In a news conference held in STO on Sunday, Managing Director Husen Amru stated that the cost of transportation would be covered by the company itself, and not from state funds.
“After some internal changes were brought to the company, we [now] have the capacity to do this”, Amru explained.
Although STO did not provide details regarding the changes, the company disclosed that the profits generated by other transactions would be utilised to cover the costs of staple food transportation.
STO plans to establish a system in order to provide the services, placing agents on each island to handle the staple food selling.
The company has also opened to opportunity for those wishing to be employed as agents to submit their proposals at STO pharmacies located in the islands.
Additionally, Amru stated that the staple foods must be sold on each island according to the prices already determined by the Ministry of Economic Development. He also noted that it was the council’s responsibility to ensure that the foods are being sold for the pre-determined prices.
“That is the only way the people will benefit from what we’re trying to do”, he said.
The prices determined by the Economic Ministry for staple foods are as follows:
A sack of rice: MVR 240, A kilogram of rice: MVR 4.5
A sack of sugar: MVR 241, A kilogram of sugar: MVR 4.82
A sack of flour: MVR 190, A kilogram of flour: MVR 3.8
Amru announced that starting from the first of April, staple foods will be sold at all the parts of the country at these prices.
When questioned how much STO would be spending per month to transport the goods to the atolls, Amru expressed that an exact figure has not yet been calculated.
“We will know the amount after the bid has been proposed. Even though we have estimated some figures and expect to meet them, it might even be cheaper or it might even be costlier”, explained the Managing Director.
State Trading Organization is a public company within which 81.63 percent of the shares are owned by the Maldivian government.