Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon presides over a vice ministerial meeting to map out policies to tame consumer prices at Government Complex Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)
SEJONG – Economic policymakers are moving to tame consumer prices under their assessment that inflationary pressures would continue this month, Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon said Friday.
Several policy measures set to be taken include making price tags of food products at large-scale dining franchises publicized and extending fuel tax redemption.
“Prices of dining out increased by 5.5 percent in January on-year. This marked the highest growth (in almost 13 years) since 5.6 percent, posted in February 2009,” Lee said during a vice ministerial meeting.
Prices of food sold at major restaurant franchises will be displayed online at the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corp.'s website, starting from Feb. 23. Service charges on food deliveries will also be made public at the Korea National Council of Consumer Organizations’ website starting from this month, he said. The measure is to help consumers make reasonable choices, he added.
Citing a price-fixing case among major ice cream producers, the vice minister said that the government would take stern disciplinary actions against such cartels seeking simultaneous price hikes.
With a spike in international crude prices being referred as a key factor in rising consumer prices, local policymakers are considering extending tax cut on fuels including gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas.
According to the Korea National Oil Corp., the benchmark gasoline price climbed for the 40th consecutive day, starting from Jan. 10, to reach 1,727.14 won ($1.44) per liter on Friday.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org