December 22, 2023 – The Consumer Association of Timor-Leste has urged the Timorese government to increase surveillance and regulation of prices in the retail market. This recommendation comes after a survey conducted in various supermarkets in Díli.

The survey, carried out this week, assessed prices in 21 supermarkets in the capital and found that price differences for the same items across different retail outlets can vary by as much as 200%. This significant variation was noted in the prices of apples, potatoes, and carrots.

In total, the Consumer Association analyzed 20 products, including vegetables, meat, fruit, beverages, rice, sugar, flour, oil, milk, and eggs. The price of a 25-kilogram bag of rice, a staple in the Timorese diet, ranges from 17 to 19.75 dollars (approximately 15.2 to 18 euros), as noted by the association.

António Ramos, the president of the Consumer Association, stated in a press conference, “If we look at this price table, operators are violating the fair price law, and we recommend that the Government increase its surveillance and regulation of the retail market.”

The Association also concluded that the government’s subsidy granted to distributors has not yet impacted consumer prices. After taking office in July, the Timorese government reduced import taxes on sugar-containing foods, tobacco, and subsidized rice.

Data from the International Monetary Fund indicates that Timor-Leste will have an average inflation rate of 8.3% in 2023 due to the global increase in the prices of rice and oil. The same data suggests that inflation could drop to 2.5% in 2024.