Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ makes guidelines at the meeting for pricing in Hà Nội last week. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tần
HÀ NỘI — The prices of pork and facemasks were the centre of discussion at an extraordinary meeting of the steering committee for pricing last week chaired by its head, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ.
Opening the meeting, Deputy PM Huệ said the outbreak of acute respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus would have great impacts on the world economy and prices, and Việt Nam is certain to be affected.
He noted that goods supply was abundant during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, but the consumer price index (CPI) of January posted a high increase of 1.23 per cent from the previous month, due to pork prices staying at a high level, up 8.29 per cent from December 2019. He asked agencies to look into pork prices and report to the steering committee.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Đỗ Thanh Hải said his ministry will inspect the production, supply and sale of pork.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến, 19 provinces and centrally-run cities are free of African swine fever, while 37 provinces reported that 85 per cent of their communes have had no new outbreaks for 30 days.
The deputy minister said this is a good condition for firms and farmers to resume raising pigs.
Representatives from Hà Nội and HCM City said there have been no pork shortages recently. However, livestock companies said they suffered losses due to African swine fever, adding production costs are high so it is difficult to cut prices.
Regarding surging prices of facemasks and antiseptic solutions, deputy head of the Planning-Finance Department under the Health Minister Lê Thành Công said demand for those products has increased sharply amidst concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.
According to Công, Việt Nam has 46 makers of facemasks, but they depend on China for materials. He added the companies are looking for material suppliers in Europe and other regions.
Huệ instructed ministries to work with businesses to stabilise and reduce pork prices by 10 per cent in February and the following months.
“Ministries and agencies, particularly the Ministry of Industry and Trade, must answer the Government why the pork prices remain at the current high level despite there being no shortage,” Huệ said.
He also assigned the market management and financial inspection forces to intensify inspections and punish those who illegally increase the price of facemasks. VNS