BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: To ensure price controlled goods under the Price Control Act, Chapter 142, including cooking oil and formulated powdered milk, are not sold above the set maximum prices, the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE), Prime Minister’s Office through the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs has conducted a surprise visit to several business premises along Jalan Muara and in Muara Town in the Brunei-Muara District. During the surprise visit, a warning notice and a compound not exceeding $1,000 were issued to 2 businesses who were found to have committed offences of exceeding the set maximum price for cooking oil and formulated powdered milk.

Brudirect reported that the visit among other things aimed to inspect business compliance with the Price Control (Cheap Sale Price) Regulations and Price Control (Display of Prices) Order. This include, rice not to be sold above the subsidised price. Also part of the objective was to monitor the prices of selected goods listed under the amendment of the customs import tax and excise duties of the Royal Customs and Excise Department, Ministry of Finance such as sweetened beverages (fizzy drinks), monosodium glutamate (MSG) and car tyres.

The visit was led by Pengiran Hajah Siti Nirmala binti Pengiran Haji Mohammad, the Acting Permanent Secretary (Economy and Finance) at the Prime Minister’s Office. Also present was Awang Haji Asrul Adrain bin Pehin Orang Kaya Dato Seri Setia Doktor Haji Ahmad, the Acting Deputy Director General of JPKE.

For subsequent offences under the Price Control Act, Chapter 142 and its Regulations, businesses can be imposed a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for 2 years for the first offence by the court; OR a fine of $20,000 and imprisonment of 5 years for a repeated offence by the court.

During the visit, business owners were given explanation on the 22 items listed under the Act as price controlled items including rice, sugar, plain flour, formulated powdered milk, condensed and evaporated milk, motor gasoline, cooking oil, ready-mix concrete and passenger motor vehicles.

JPKE sets maximum prices for 4 types of goods namely, cooking oil, formulated powdered milk, passenger motor vehicle, and bricks (clay). The maximum prices for essential goods such as rice and sugar which are subsidised items are set by the Division of Supply and Store, Treasury Department, Ministry of Finance. The items listed will be reviewed from time to time.

Whereas goods other than those listed in the Act are determined by traders themselves through economic forces of supply and demand. Consumers have the right to compare and choose their purchases. This is to ensure and to maintain a healthy and fair business environment in Brunei Darussalam.