March 17: Consumers have started panic shopping fearing shortage of daily essentials due to the coronavirus outbreak. This has further aggravated the situation. The public has been flocking to general stores, super markets and retail shops to stockpile the essential goods.
Although the government has time and again assured of smooth supply of daily essentials, the public has still been hoarding excessive amounts of food such as rice, salt, edible oil, cooking gas among others.
Taking advantage of this situation, some businessmen and traders have been involved in creating artificial shortage of essential goods and selling them in the black market. This has caused a price hike of goods. The government, on the other hand, has not been able to ensure smooth flow of goods.
According to executive committee member of Nepal Chamber of Commerce Deepak Malhotra, the consumers themselves are to be blamed for the shortage.
“Storing excessive amount of goods by the customers has created an artificial shortage despite normal supply of goods,” said Malhotra.
The suppliers as well as the government have maintained that there is no shortage of cooking gas and other daily essentials in the market. But still, stakeholders claim that the demand for rice, salt, edible oil, lentil among other essential goods has skyrocketed.
Rajesh Kumar, the owner of Manakamana Stores in Kalimati, informed New Business Age that a single family has stored a sack full of salt in case there is shortage due to the deadly disease.
“We used to sell one sack of salt during a normal day before. But now, we are selling ten sacks of salt on a daily basis,” he said.
Another businessman Rajesh Prasad Joshi of B and B Store says that some traders themselves have panicked and started storing goods. He, however, said that there isn’t any shortage of essential goods so far in the market. He argues that the public has lined for stockpiling goods due to the fear of price hike.