Parliament: Our warehouses are quite full and prices to remain affordable, says FairPrice chief Seah Kian Peng

FairPrice group chief executive Seah Kian Peng at FairPrice’s Benoi Distribution Centre on Feb 8, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - FairPrice warehouses are well stocked with essential food items and products, group chief executive Seah Kian Peng said on Monday (April 6).

Speaking in Parliament during the debate on the supplementary budget, Mr Seah (Marine Parade GRC), who heads Singapore's largest supermarket chain, also said that prices will be kept affordable, despite the global increase in prices.

Declaring his interest as group chief executive of FairPrice and NTUC Enterprise, Mr Seah said: "I would like to assure everyone in the House, and Singaporeans outside, that our warehouses are quite full. We have rice, canned food, toilet paper, cooking oil, instant noodles. We have fruits and vegetables. We have meats, fresh and frozen."

Mr Seah acknowledged that the prices of certain items have gone up in recent weeks due to factors such as higher demand globally, increase in production costs and shipping and freight charges.

"But be assured that we will continue to do our best to moderate these price increases and make it affordable to all."

He said FairPrice in March last year announced that the prices of the top 100 house brand essential products would be frozen for 15 months, regardless of changes in supply and other external factors.

"This price guarantee could not be more timely under the current situation," he noted. "Ordinarily, I would not have make such a promotional statement. But these are not ordinary times, and we are not an ordinary people."

In his speech, Mr Seah also highlighted the resilience and contributions of older workers in the past few months as Singapore faces the coronavirus pandemic.

"If there ever has been any doubt about the resilience of older, mature workers, the past few months have laid these to rest. I am proud and glad that our mature workforce came through very well during this period. They have been very calm and steady, resilient and working tirelessly," he said.

He added that they work well with their younger team members, making the team as a whole stronger. The young bring energy, creativity and stamina, while the older workers bring experience, patience and acumen, said Mr Seah.

"I see parallels with how our 4G leaders are coming up and showing their leadership mettle while being supported by the senior, more experienced leaders," he added.

Mr Seah also described the decision to impose purchasing restrictions at FairPrice outlets as a difficult and unpopular one. "No one likes to be told that there are some things money cannot buy. But at the end of the day, I was guided by my true north, which is to ensure as many people can have access to their food supplies for the key categories," he said.

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