STO is handing over items to a pickup from the wholesale centre opened in the industrial village for Ramadan. Photo/STO

Traders say prices will be cheaper this Ramadan

STO goods will also be available for wholesale from Vinares Flat in Hulhumale Phase II, Roadha Mart in Tower 9.

19 March 2023

By Ahmed Mizyal

With this year's fasting month of Ramadan kicking off this week, unlike previous years, this year's fasting month will keep the prices of essential commodities at the same level without any increase, according to some of the major importers.

The companies that Atoll Times spoke to said that they have already brought in items that need to be brought for the fast. This time, they said, there are no reasons for the rise in prices of commodities in the last few years.

An MHA official said that this year, there has not been many difficulties in the import of goods.

For fasting, the company usually brings in products such as dates and cooking oil. All of them have already been brought in.

"The price was actually cheaper. That's the change that comes with being competitive. The goods brought by us," he said.

"Some things are going to be expensive, though. A lot of things coming from Europe are going to be expensive. There is no change in the price of what is coming from other countries."

Ali Shaheem, head of operations at Redwave, which imports a large number of items used in daily life, wholesale and retail, said the company has also brought in all kinds of items for the fasting month.

"There is a shortage of limes. Everything else is already there. We will also get limes by the start of the fast," he said.

"It's going to be a well-prepared fasting month."

According to Shaheem, the price of goods sold at Red Wave will be cheaper in general, year round.

"You can shop from Red Wave to a bill total of MVR 800, where it would cost MVR 1,000 in others" Shaheem said.

Concerns over dollar rate

In the last two to three years, shipping prices have been high and goods have been stuck due to the start of the Russia-Ukraine war and the difficulties associated with it. Shaheem, however, said he did not face any such hurdles during the fasting month.

"The freight is getting better. This time we are not in the old situation. There is no problem in shipping," he said.

Shaheem, however, expressed concern over the dollar rate hike.

"At present, the dollar is available at the rate of MVR 17.30. We can sell goods at 20% cheaper than the price at which they are being sold, if the state allows the STO dollars at the rate of MVR 15.42," Shaheem said.

STO cuts prices of essential goods

Onions, potatoes and eggs are the most sought-after crops during the fasting season and during the fasting season. To address the growing demand and the possibility of prices going up if they run out, state-run trading firm STO has brought in a consignment of onions, potatoes and seeds for Ramadan this year as well and reduced the wholesale prices already.

Here's the change in prices since Thursday:

  • A sack of potatoes will be sold with a cut of MVR 10, a sack for MVR 240

  • MVR 10 reduced per sack of onions, a sack now at MVR 160

  • MVR 10 per egg case, sold at MVR 280

Despite the reduction in wholesale prices, retail prices have not been revised:

  • Potatoes at MVR 11 per kg

  • Onions at MVR 9 per kg

  • An egg at MVR 1.75 

The STO has also set up a new wholesale centre in the industrial village to facilitate the availability of goods during the fasting month. The goods will also be available for wholesale from Vinares Flat in Hulhumale Phase II, Roadha Mart in Tower 9.