Five of the nation’s major hypermarket and supermarket chains yesterday assured the Consumer Protection Committee that there would be no hikes in prices for rice, instant noodles or tissue paper amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The committee yesterday inquired about prices of daily necessities sold at Carrefour, Wellcome, A-mart, Costco Taiwan and Pxmart, and asked them whether there would be significant increases in prices.
The companies said that although people have been emptying shelves holding rice, instant noodles and tissue paper at some of their branches, consumers could rest assured that prices for these products would not increase, said an Executive Yuan official who requested anonymity.
The companies said that none of their rice, instant noodle or tissue paper suppliers had reported any problems, and stock of the products had remained normal, the official said, adding that the nation has high production capacity for all of the products.
However, upon learning that shelves containing these products have been frequently emptied, the committee instructed the franchises to ensure that daily necessities are stocked in time to meet growing public demand, they said.
Meanwhile, some people have mobilized all of their family members to buy tissue paper after the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the five super and hypermarket operators reached an agreement to limit the amount of tissue paper a person can purchase to one pack, the official said.
The recurrence of panic buying of tissue paper is difficult to resolve, as the problem is influenced by similar buying sprees overseas and people’s growing concern over the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, they said.
The Executive Yuan has asked the committee, the ministry and Council of Agriculture to report the prices of common foodstuffs daily and intervene at the earliest sign of price abnormalities, the official said.
Committee Director-General Liu Chin-fang (劉清芳) urged people to shop rationally and refrain from buying more than they need.
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