PNG shops fined for price gouging

5:52 pm on 4 June 2020

Thirteen shops in Papua New Guinea have been fined for price gouging.

Lae city, Papua New Guinea.

Lae city, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The shops were found to have increased the cost of items regulated under the Covid 19 State of Emergency.

The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission says 11 shops in Lae and two in Ramu were found to have hiked prices on regulated items, including rice, flour and sugar.

Commissioner Paulus Ain says the price hikes ranged from six to 20 percent, despite emergency orders preventing increases of more than five percent.

He says 48 infringement notices were issued to the 13 shop owners, each carrying a fine of about $US1500.

He says while the fines appear large they're dwarfed by the money gouged from consumers.

Meanwhile, PNG's parliament this week voted to extend the country's State of Emergency for two weeks.

The SOE, enacted by the government in late March to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,

was due to have expired on Tuesday but is now extended into mid-June.