(MENAFN- Pajhwok Afghan News)
KABUL (Pajhwok): A piece of bread, weighing between 115 and 157 grams, is sold for 10 afghanis in Kabul, with people grumbling about official negligence.
On December 11, Pajhwok Afghan News published a report titled“Up to 46grm difference found in bread weight in Kabul bakeries”.
On December 15, the Kabul Municipality fixed the price of a piece of 140 grams bread at 10 afghanis after the dollar's value decreased against the afghani.
On December 15, the price of a 50 kilograms bag of Kazakhstani flour was 2,500 afghanis. But bow the rate has fallen to 2,450afs.
Niamatullah Barakzai, spokesman for municipality, had then said:“The municipality's contact numbers are available in the statement and people can inform us if any bakery violates the price.”
The statement added,“The weight of only freshly-baked bread is valid. Anyone violating the rules should be reported to 0731010422.”
Pajhwok once again weighed pieces of freshly-baked bread at 20 bakeries in different areas of Kabul. A 10-afghani piece of bread weighed 115 to 157 grams.
The findings showed at some bakeries, a piece of bread was 42 grams less than the specified weight. At others, it was even heavier than it.
The bakers violating the relevant rule said if flour and gas prices went up, they would have to reduce the weight of bread even further because they were still in loss.
One piece of 10afs bread weighed 157 grams in a bakery near Public Health Square, 115 grams in the Airport Squarer, 147 grams in Macro Ryan, 145 grams in 1st Macro Ryan, 140 grams in Kalola Pushta, 140 grams in two bakeries in Haji Yaqoob Square and 135 in grams Qala-i-Fathullah.
The bread weight in bakeries in Taimani, Paikob and Shaheed Square is 130 grams. It is 129 grams in Kalola Pushta and Qala-i-Fathullah, 125 grams in the 6th Street of Taimani, 124 gram in the 5th Street of Taimani and 119 gram in Bibi Mahro area.
Mahmood, worker at a bakery in the Airport Square, called the current situation dismal. If it continued, he feared, they would have to close their bakery.
He denied shrinking the bread size and said:“The municipality has set the weight of bread at 135 grams for us. It has handed me an appreciation letter for maintaining good weight.”
The baker called on the government to pay serious attention to the situation. If prices of flour and gas went up, he said, backers were forced to reduce the weight of bread.
Abdul Rahman Khairkhwa owns a bakery in the Public Health Square. His bakery has the highest bread weight. He said working conditions were deteriorating day by day. If the situation continued for another moth, most bakeries might close, he warned.
“There will be no profit even if the bread weight is cut to 100 grams. I have not reduced the weight because I do not want to lose customers,” he remarked.
“Those who have drastically reduced the weight of bread would suffer less,” he continued.
“The municipality, without any logic, fixed the weight of bread. If they distribute flour to bakeries and lower the price of gas, they will have no problem…”
He called on the government to ensure the security of businesspeople to encourage investments in Afghanistan.
Bread weight reduction an injustice
Darwish Ahmad, a resident of Shahr-i-Naw, said:“The size of bread is shrinking day by day. Some time ago, when flour became more expensive, the weight of bread fell. But when the price went down, the weight of bread did not increase.”
He said the weight of bread varied from place to place, an unfair practice that must stop. He called on the government to monitor the weight and price of bread and pay greater attention to the problem.
Meanwhile, Madina Sirat, a resident of Darul Aman area, agreed the weight of bread varied from one place to another. He slammed it as an injustice that people were complaining about.
Madina urged the government to pay serious attention to the reduced weight of bread and make sure that it remained the same in all bakeries.
Municipality's duty to check hoarding
Niamatullah Barakzai, spokesman for the municipality, told Pajhwok they did not provide price lists to anyone specifically. But he acknowledged it was their job to stop hoarding and monitor quantity and quality.
Municipality teams monitor quality and quantity of foodstuff and prevent hoarding in 22 police districts of Kabul on a daily basis.
If the price set for a commodity the market goes from price to famine
Price-driven commodity shortage
Noorullah Omari, head of the National Chamber of Professionals, told Pajhwok bakeries currently baked bread weighing 130 to 140 grams. A committee has been set up to oversee bakeries.
In different areas, he claimed, bakeries had been fined for reducing the weight of bread. Some of these bakeries were even closed for two to three days.
He was asked whether or not flour and gas prices would come down and the weight of bread would increase.
He replied in the negative.“I don't see a situation where flour and gas prices will go down. The price of flour per tonne rose to $30 due to problems in Kazakhstan. Bakeries have been forced to cut the weight of bread,” he argued.
He reasoned Afghanistan was a consumer country, which imported almost all food items from abroad.
Omari stressed the price of bread should be kept constant. If the flour rate went up, he explained, the weight of bread would be affected.
Based on the direction of the prime minister, a commission has been set up to monitor prices
The panel has representatives from the municipality, National Directorate of Security, General Directorate of Terrorism at the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce.
Omari added:“In order to resolve these problems, we hold two meetings a week with the Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.”