Lao Government Lowers Prices for Essential Goods in Vientiane Capital

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), working with local companies, started a program to sell commonly used consumer goods at lower prices in Vientiane Capital on 26 September 2023 (Photo: Laopost)

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce collaborated with local companies to start selling commonly used consumer goods at lower prices in Vientiane Capital to help households struggling with the high cost of living.

Popular food products like Wai Wai instant noodles, vegetable oil, oyster sauce, fish sauce, Maggi seasoning, dishwashing liquid, and MSG, will be available for sale at 17 locations in Sisattanak, Chanthabouly, Saysettha, Naxaythong, and Pakngum districts from 26 September until 30 September.

The government has also put a cap on the number of items a person can buy in each product category so that shops don’t run out of household staples to sell. While each person is allowed to buy up to 10 packets of instant noodles, they are only allowed to buy one item from each of the other categories.

Among the discounted products, Wai Wai noodles are now LAK 3,300 per packet, down from their regular price of LAK 5,000. Vegetable oil is also discounted, from LAK 40,000 to LAK 24,500 per bottle.

Other discounted products include oyster sauce, now sold at LAK 18,000 per bottle, down from LAK 45,000, and fish sauce, which has dropped from LAK 27,000 to LAK 16,000 per bottle.

Maggi seasoning is now available at LAK 16,000 per bottle, down from LAK 30,000; dishwashing liquid is sold at LAK 11,500 per bottle, instead of the previous price of LAK 25,000; and MSG is now LAK 14,000 per packet, down from LAK 20,000.

The products retailing at lower prices have been made available by Somboun Import-Export Trade Company and 3F LAO, and the MOIC is encouraging more businesses to join the program to help residents cope with increasing financial pressures.

Although the scheme was a welcome relief for people in Vientiane Capital, it was met with mixed reactions on social media. While numerous netizens praised the government’s action to address inflation, others wondered why it was not made available to people in other provinces. Additionally, some users were not happy that they had just five days to stock up on discounted products.

The government is reportedly considering expanding the scheme to other provinces and has instructed relevant authorities to take urgent measures to address the spiraling inflation and subsequent cost of living crisis.