Inflation is bad enough in the rest of the world, but in the Khmer Republic it is almost out of control.
Inflation is bad enough in the rest of the world, but in the Khmer Republic it is almost out of control. The situation has not only been aggravated by the war that wracks the country, but also by the prevalence of graft, pilfering and excessive price increases.
The Government has been forced to introduce strong emergency measures to reduce the cost of foodstuffs and other essential consumer goods in the capital, Phnom Penh, and the other areas of the country which it controls. The changes include strict regulations on the cost of all goods brought into the capital from the provinces. The regulations are enforced at every point of exchange from the goods production source to the retail market.
Moreover, the Government has ordered each precinct headquarters to buy limited quantities of non-perishable goods at wholesale prices in order to resell them to their constituents at cost price. Cooperatives have also been formed in every branch of the civil service to provide a similar service to all government employees.
The new system was tried out in a project in Phnom Penh's central market, and this month Prime Minister Long Boret has been touring the capital and refugee camps to explain how it works. If the scheme works. prices should drop considerably.
The first stage in the scheme takes place when the Planning Minister decides on what amounts of rice, fish, meat, poultry, sugar, salt, coal, cooking fuels and other goods the people of WP Penh need. The Ministry of Commerce then only permits those requirements to enter the capital.
When the goods arrive they are stored in warehouses operated by the National Bureau of Consumer Affairs, and are then sold to wholesalers at fixed prices.
The beleaguered city is faced with enormous problems because of the inflation. The unemployment and social chaos it threatens is made the times worse by the flood of refugees that is still pouring into the city. In 1970 it had a population of 6000,000 people; today its population is around two million.