Prices of Imported Food Items Rise by about 8%

The prices of imported food items soared by almost 8 per cent from August last year till August this year. This is the highest inflation rate recorded so far according to the National Statistics Bureau’s (NSB) consumer price index bulletin of August.

 

The prices of imported food items soared by almost 8 per cent from August last year till August this year. This is the highest inflation rate recorded so far according to the National Statistics Bureau’s (NSB) consumer price index bulletin of August.

The prices of local goods and services saw an increase of about 6 per cent in the same period. In general, the prices of food and non-food items rose by 7.32 per cent and 4.04 per cent respectively.

Wholesalers said the hike in the prices of branded imported rice is significant. According to them, several factors have led to the increase. “Flood has damaged paddy fields and rice factories in India,” said Satendra Kumar Singh, a wholesaler based in Phuentshogling.

“Moreover, more rice is being exported to Bangladesh these days. I am hopeful the prices will become normal with the new paddy season.”

Chenzo Zangmo , a shopkeeper in Thimphu said a 25 kilogram rice bag now costs Rs. 50 more, while a 50 kilogram bag costs Rs 50 more. “We have no choice but to hike the price as we have to pay Nu 85 as transportation charge for every rice pack,” she said.

Tandin Dorji, another shopkeeper in Thimphu said that many people also think that the increase in the rice price is because of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. But this, he said, is a misunderstanding.

“No tax is levied on the import of rice, both in the past as well as today,” said Tandin Dorji. “The rise in the price of rice is triggered by a decline in the supply.”

Traders say the floods this monsoon have also damaged roads and some rice mills in India. They added, earlier, the rice consignments used to reach Bhutan within two or three days. But now, it takes more than 10 days.

Today, Bhutan imports 90 percent of its goods from India.

 

By Parsang (This article has been edited for the Bhutan Times).

This article first appeared on BBS.

 


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