Jakarta (ANTARA) - Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan has urged merchants selling basic foods not to take excessive profits or stockpile their goods to avoid corrective action by the government's food task force.

"Be careful, those who stockpile stocks will have their stocks confiscated by the task force. Hence, we ask (merchants) to take profit reasonably," he said, according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The Trade Ministry and the food task force have been routinely inspecting the prices of basic foods in markets nationwide, he added.

During his visit to cheap market bazaars in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, and Caking, East Jakarta, on Wednesday, Hasan said that the bazaar has been set up to ensure residents can fulfill their basic food needs at affordable prices.

The officials who accompanied him during the visit included West Jakarta Mayor Uus Kuswanto during his visit to Cengkareng, while provincial Industry, Trade, Cooperatives, and SMEs Office head Elisabeth Ratu Rante Allo accompanied him during the visit to Cakung.

"Our bazaar with the mayors is to help residents obtain their basic needs at affordable prices," he noted.

Retail stores, State Logistics Agency (Bulog), and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have participated in the bazaar, which is making cheap and basic food products available to residents.

Some basic food products sold at the bazaar are garlic, which is priced at Rp25 thousand (US$1.67) per kilogram, MinyaKita cooking oil Rp14 thousand (US$0.93) per liter, flour Rp12 thousand (US$0.80) per kilogram, and sugar Rp13.5 thousand (US$0.90) for a kilogram.

Moreover, a basic food package consisting of 1 kilogram of sugar, 1 kilogram of cooking oil, and 2.5 kilograms of rice, is also available at the bazaar for Rp65 thousand (US$4.35).

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Translator: Maria Cicilia, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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