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May 29, 2020

Playing the market is breaking the law

With more findings of Coronavirus infections, which reached 14 yesterday in Myanmar, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic appears imminent in our country.
At the same time, food and medicine prices are trending upwards, with some protective items, such as masks, sanitizers and alcohol, disappearing from the market.
To respond to the situation, the Ministry of Commerce has worked to stabilize commodity markets related to medicines, medical equipment and household commodities since the outbreak of the disease first occurred in neighbouring China.
In a welcome step, the ministry issued an order yesterday warning the public not to speculate on three goods, banning those who are speculating in the market by selling products at higher prices than the street market and distribution chains call for.
The ministry labeled three goods as “important goods”, which include health care equipment for Coronavirus disease prevention, control and treatment, medicines and food.
Under the Essential Supplies and Services Law, anyone who violates any order issued under section 4 shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term from a minimum of six months to a maximum of three years, and shall also be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand Kyats.
The government is helping to smooth the flow of commodities by joining hands with the private sector. Thus the public and businesses are urged to abide by the law.
This new move by the Ministry of Commerce is another step to alleviate the impact on the nation’s economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regarding food, we are confident that our country will not encounter shortages, as the country is producing basic household commodities and even exporting these goods to foreign countries.
The government is taking steps to address difficulties in trade and will not hesitate to take legal actions against those causing price hikes in the market during this time of crisis.
For in a time of crisis, the people instinctively know what they need, which is food.
Obviously, if the producer receives less and the consumer pays more, then there is price gouging in the middle. Ordinary people have been outraged by individuals who purchase excessive amounts of basic necessities in order to personally profit.
Again, we should avoid any measures and actions which can lead the people to be outraged by price hikes caused by individuals playing the markets.

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