Commodity flows into Arakan State have slowed since Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup early this month, according to local businessmen.
The import of basic foodstuffs and consumer goods into Arakan State has been disrupted by the current political crisis, and their prices have increased as a result, said U Khin Maung Gyi, vice chairman of Rakhine Economic Initiative Public Co., Ltd.
“Commodity prices are already high in Arakan State due to instability in the region. And commodity flows have been further slowed down by CDM,” he said, referring to the ongoing anti-coup civil disobedience movement. “Overall, the prices of imported goods have increased by 20% to 50%.”
U Khin Maung Gyi has called on the Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RSCCI) and relevant governmental departments to address the issue, saying it could have serious impacts on consumers in the long run.
RSCCI Chairman U Tin Aung Oo said the chamber has made arrangements to import food and consumer goods from other suppliers in the event that commodity prices rise further.
“We have made preparations in case prices shoot up suddenly. For the time being, prices have not increased much. But if protests grow in Bamar-majority areas, supplies will be cut off,” said U Tin Aung Oo.
Agricultural commodities in Arakan State are in short supply following the coup, said merchant U Kyaw Lin from the central market in the state capital Sittwe.
“Our order for onion has not been met, as is the case for other orders. There have been delays in the transportation process. The prices of basic foods, even chili peppers, have increased day by day,” he said.
Growing political instability across Myanmar has led to price increases for basic foodstuffs including the staple rice, as well as consumer goods and pharmaceutical products.