The Singapore Government is monitoring the rice situation closely and is assuring everyone that the rice shortage situation is under control. In fact, they even assured that all the rice importers are behaving well and not doing any hanky panky under the guise of inflating costs. However, a lot of people are complaining that rice is beginning to be too expensive and are seeking help even to survive.

So, whose fault is it anyway? Of course it’s all our fault! You see, if the outflow of rice is slower, than the inflow of more expensive rice will be slower… or at least that’s what I think. I’m not an economist. Blame all the kiasu people who bought extra packets of rice. Blame all the extra kiasu people who bought all the cheapo lousy rice. Blame all the people who eat rice… duh?!

MINISTER of State for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said Singapore’s supply of rice was adequate despite growing concerns of tightness in domestic stocks of the staple food.

The government is monitoring the rice market closely, he told Parliament on Monday.

‘Our rice importers have been conducting their business responsibly and maintaining normal supplies to consumers, despite the volatility in global markets,’ Mr Iswaran said.

He added that there was no evidence of hoarding by rice importers and said authorities would punish such behaviour.

‘We have no reports of any profiteering or any anticompetitive behavior by our rice importers … they have been very responsible,’ Mr Iswaran said in response to questions from lawmakers.

‘As a condition of their license, rice importers are not allowed to engage, directly or indirectly, in price fixing or other unfair trade practices relating to the import or sale of rice,’ he said.

Mr Iswaran said retail prices of rice have risen about 10-15 per cent since January. That’s an increase of about S$2 for each 10-kg packet of rice.

A sharp rise in the price of rice is hitting consumer pocketbooks and raising fears of public turmoil in the many parts of Asia where rice is a staple.

Part of a surge in global food costs, rice prices on world markets have jumped 50 per cent in the past two months and at least doubled since 2004.

Experts blame rising fuel and fertiliser expenses as well as crops curtailed by disease, pests and climate change.

There are concerns prices could rise a further 40 per cent in coming months. — AP

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 21st April 2008



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