Turkmen media outlets refer to state-run stores as distribution centres for promo food products

Pro-governmental news outlet Arzuw posted a report on food abundance in an attempt to refute information on deficit of food products published by independent media outlets.

However, instead of state-run stores which are under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Trade, the photos of the counters featuring imported groceries were demonstrated.

Journalists referred to state-run stores as specialized state-run distribution centres for basic groceries, with prices that are two to three times lower than the average market prices, thus confirming a two to three fold price hike since the start of the economic crisis.

According to media outlets, correspondents spotted speical offers for distribution (in practice, the sale) of fresh chicken drumsticks, fruits, oil, flour and other groceries.

It should be clarified that there are two types of retail outlets in Turkmenistan �state-run stores subordinate to the Ministry of Trade with prices being established by the state using unclear criteria and privately-owned shops (referred to as commercial stores by the local) which offer market prices for groceries.

Before the crisis broke out, entrepreneurs had no restrictions for currency conversion at the official rate and the prices in these stores were commensurate. However, after the restrictions for currency conversion had been introduced and the manat exchange rate at the black market had skyrocketed from 3,5 to 20 manats per dollar, a price hike for imported products was recorded in commercial stores, which led to the fact that as of today the price difference in privately-owned retail outlets and state-run stores is two to three times.

At the same time, the annual salary increase, according to official information, is only 10%, which means that real disposable income has also plummeted. The authorities publish no official statistics pertaining to these and other economic indicators.

Due to low income and high unemployment rate in the provinces, the Turkmen residents are urged to form queues to buy promo groceries.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan