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City Markets Set Price Controls Over Pi Mai Lao

Source: Vientiane Times

Two major markets in Vientiane have made extensive preparations to cope with the extra demand over the Pi Mai Lao holiday and have introduced measures to regulate the price of goods and ensure that traders do not raise prices arbitrarily.

The Lao Wholesale and Retail Market in Xaythany district and the Lao-Aussie Fresh Market in Nong Taeng village, Sikhottabong district are continuing to sell produce at normal prices and have placed price tags on stalls, along with a hotline number that people can call to inform market authorities about unwarranted price hikes.

The head of management at the Lao Wholesale and Retail Market, Mr Somvang Xaysomphou, said on Tuesday the market was fully stocked with a wide range of products to meet the needs of shoppers.

The market plans to enforce price controls by arranging for teams of staff to check prices and the accuracy of weighing scales at six markets in the city centre.

Vendors are required to display government-controlled product prices so that they do not charge an inflated price. The move is intended to discourage the traditional mark-up mentality that prevails during times of peak demand, as well as give shoppers confidence in the prices they are charged.

Mr. Somvang said vendors who violate the regulations by unlawfully raising their prices will be penalized.

A first offense will result in a written warning being issued, a second offense will see the infringement recorded, and a third offense will result in the trader being fined and his or her operations temporarily suspended.

Goods on sale at the Lao Market are sourced from numerous places. Vegetables are mostly purchased from cooperatives in Tha Chang and Thong Mang villages in Vientiane, from Kasy district in Vientiane province, and from Xieng Khuang province, with the market selling 6,000-7,000 kilograms of fresh produce per day.

The market also buys and sells more than 2,000 kilograms of pork a day, 15 pigs a day, 600 kilograms of beef, and ducks, chickens, fish, seafood, and fruit.

The price of meat ranges from 78,000-80,000 kip per kilogram, beef costs 130,000 kip per kilogram, ducks and chickens sell for 120,000 kip per kilogram, and fish prices average 45,000 kip per kg.

Vendors at the Lao-Aussie Fresh Market have already put up signs indicating product prices, which bear the hotline number 020 5674 3149 for people to call to inform market authorities if they think the price is incorrect.

Vegetables sold at the market start at just 5,000 kip. Tomatoes cost 10,000-15,000 kip per kilogram, mushrooms cost 7,000-16,000 kip depending on the species, and chillies are priced at 25,000-30,000 per kilogram.