Consumers and businesses feel pressure on food and import prices

Lyna Mohammad

Consumers and businesses are feeling the strain on their budgets as grocery prices have risen in recent months amid global supply chain disruptions.

“Flour, cooking oil and a few other necessities of our daily life were so affordable,” said Rozy, a public sector worker.

“But now it’s so alarming to see our money go so quickly after groceries, and the next payday is still two weeks away.”

She goes through the tedious task of carefully comparing the prices of miscellaneous items with other stores to find the cheapest option.

“It’s the only way to save money, otherwise you won’t have enough to buy gas for your car,” she told the Sunday Bulletin.

ABOVE AND BELOW: Housewife Len; and businessman Ikhram. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD

Meanwhile, housewife Len expressed her frustration at suddenly having to go over budget. “Don’t get me started on my monthly errands,” she said.

While saying she understands that there is a global rise in food and commodity prices, she said locally available or locally produced items should not experience the same rise. “It’s not acceptable,” Len said.

Government retiree Awang Manan said the price hike was not only for food, but also for the majority of products imported by local businesses.

“As consumers, we need to spend wisely and budget monthly for groceries. Just get what the family needs and don’t waste,” he said.

He said government agencies also play a role, such as the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics, which can monitor prices to ensure retailers and suppliers are not price gouging.

“The country should address over-reliance on other countries’ good while resolving or taking steps to help low-income people, especially large families,” he added. .

On the other side of the checkout, businessman Ikhram said that despite cost increases, they are able to maintain their current prices by cutting expenses.

“However, it would not be possible for all companies to do so. Each business would have different needs, and most require supplies or materials from overseas,” he said.

For Hartiney, a food and catering business owner who has been in the industry for more than 10 years, she raised her menu prices “to survive.”

She said she tries to keep the price increase to a minimum, to cover the rising cost of ingredients, and is grateful that most of her customers are understanding.

“While we are thinking of our customers, we also need to maintain the quality of our food and not disappoint our customers, hence slightly increasing our prices is our only option. Alhamdulillah most of our customers are understanding.

She thinks suppliers or other businesses also have their reasons for raising prices and hopes customers can adapt.

“It’s difficult for most, but it’s not just Brunei that is facing this reality, but other countries too,” she said.

Edward N. Arrington