March 16, 2022
HANOI — The central government views price controls of key commodities, such as petrol, steel, concrete, transport, livestock feed, food and medical equipment, as a top priority, said deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái in a meeting with ministries and local authorities on Monday.
Khái ordered them to stay on top of the supply and demand of said commodities and be ready to heavily sanction firms who engaged in price manipulation practices. He urged them to work with the media to ensure people are well-informed, to avoid panic and hoarding.
The deputy PM said, for the time being, there was no plan to increase prices for key commodities under the government’s price control scheme and administrative fees. However, ministries should be making preparations for possible future adjustments.
He said firms and individuals found to have violated pricing regulations would face severe penalties, especially hoarders.
Answering a question on the recent proposal by the Government to slash environmental tax for petrol products by 50 per cent, Khái said the cut would likely put petrol prices in the domestic market lower than that of neighbouring countries. As this may lead to increased petrol smuggling across the borders, he asked local authorities and border guard forces to double their effort in combating smugglers.
He acknowledged Việt Nam would likely face many difficulties in regulating prices, especially for petrol products, as the global market remains unstable and volatile as the Russia-Ukraine conflict drags on.
Economists have called for ministries and firms to make preparations for all scenarios in order to adapt to sudden changes and mitigate damage to the economy.
“Our top priority is to ensure the supply of goods and services remains stable, to prevent price hikes and panic,” he said.
He asked the State Bank of Việt Nam to conduct a comprehensive review of the economy to design resilient monetary policies that support the Government’s price control effort and economic recovery.
Việt Nam’s CPI has increased by one per cent in February and 1.42 per cent from the same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office of Việt Nam.
In the first two months of 2022, CPI climbed by 1.68 per cent over the same period last year, and core inflation by 0.67 per cent.
The GSO pointed out that core inflation in February rose by 0.49 per cent over the previous month, and by 0.68 per cent over the same period last year. In the first two months, core inflation increased by 0.67 per cent year-on-year, lower than the general average CPI, which reflects the fluctuation of consumer prices mainly due to rising prices of food and fuel.