The consumers have started experiencing the reduction in the price of the commodities in the recent times. The wholesalers shared that the contributing factors could be the removal of driver switching mode and lifting of 7-day mandatory quarantine in the South.
However, the trans-shipment of goods at Mini-Dry Port (MDP) in Phuentsholing still seems challenging for them due to loss and damage of goods in the process.
Lhamo who owns a wholesale grocery shop in Chukha said that with the removal of the 7-day mandatory quarantine in Phuentsholing and driver switching mode at Sorchen, the price of goods has reduced.
She said, “With the driver switching mode in place in the past, the transportation charges were so high that we had no option than to hike the price of the goods. Moreover, we had to pay charges for two drivers for one vehicle. Now, with the removal of the system, everything is coming down to normal.”
She further said that it is easier and convenient now that they can travel directly to Phuentsholing. They now do not have to bear losses over the damaged goods and they can bring in the goods of their choice, she said.
In the past, they used to get goods that they have not ordered, and that further added to their losses, added Sangay from Norzin Lam, Thimphu.
He said, “The prices of goods have gone up before, oil and Dalda, in particular, whereby there was an increase by Nu 30 per liter of oil and Nu 200 per carton of Dalda. The cause that time was high transportation charges due to driver switching mode.”
Now, everything is coming back to normal, he said, adding that unless there is an increase in price of the goods from the manufactures, there may not be drastic increase in price unlike in the past.
Since some shops have stocked up new goods the pricing has come down, however, there are some shops charging the high price as they are still with the old pricy stock, he further added.
Tshering Palden, who deals with importation of vegetable said that the prices of the vegetables keep changing, wherein they do not have a fixed rate for longer period of time. However, with the removal of driver switching mode, they can now save minimum Nu 1,500 per truckload.
“With the deduction from the expenditure, I have reduced the price of my vegetable, though not groceries. Having said that, the system of trans-shipment at MDP is still a challenge as we are still paying charges for it,” she said.
Likewise, many grocers and vendors shared the same views and are expecting for further changes in the protocol.
There is no huge profit from the business, she said, adding that sometimes half the vegetable stock has to be thrown away.
Unlike groceries (for wholesalers) there is not much of a price difference in the garment product, vegetables and small grocery shops. However, consumers started seeing decrease in the price of the commodities.
Consumers are now experiencing normalization after the implementation of Phase II. Though the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is on the rise, the situation is getting better, people shared.
Meanwhile, people are hoping that the government would soon reopen the international gates along the southern border, which would further ease the hike in price of the commodities. The opening of gate might help revamping the country’s economy, they added.
However, the government has no plan to re-open the gates anytime soon.