Govt keen to investigate pricing of imported rice

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THE Government wants an investigation into the cost of imported rice to determine whether importers are charging a fair price, says Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Charles Abel.
Abel told The National that the investigation directed by the National Executive Council would be undertaken by the Independent Consumer Competition Commission and the National Planning Department.
“Through the investigation, we want to look at the cost of imported rice in the country so we can understand the pricing structure,” he said.
“Rice is a price-monitored good.
“The majority of rice is imported and ICCC under its regulations has to monitor the price.
“They tend to focus on the domestic cost and not look behind the import cost.
“So we want them to look further at the cost of price for example in Thailand, Philippines or Myanmar.
“When you add on the cost of freight, handling, packaging, what is the real cost of importation into PNG?
“Then you look at the domestic cost of transport. It enables ICCC to determine that it is a fair cost.
“They need to look further at the cost so that they are not adding a big margin before it comes to PNG.
“And the real price of the rice is actually cheaper.”
He said PNG imported about 300 tonnes of rice a year and at a cost of US$800 (K2400) per tonne.
Abel said the rice imports came from Southeast Asia because they were cheaper.
But in the past rice was imported from Australia which was expensive.