Uzbekistan: shortage of cooking oil in Tashkent stores is reported
Cooking oil, both vegetable and cotton, has essentially disappeared from Tashkent stores. The stores that used to sell numerous brands (local and imported from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Iran) are empty nowadays.
Iranian Nina is the only exception, probably because it is somewhat more expensive than competing brands (3,800-3,900 sums or $3). It is not kept wherever it may be seen by customers, but a whispered question to the shopman usually suffices.
Palm oil from the United Arab Emirates in plastic canisters is available too (3 liter canister of Xayat at 9,500 sums or $7.4 and 5 liter of Taza at 15,500 or $12). Olive oil from Spain (250 gr) costs 6,000 sums or $4.7.
The price of cooking oil in Uzbekistan spiralled over the last two months from 2,200-2,400 sums ($1.7-1.9) to 3,300 or $2.6. Used to a profligate use of cooking oil, the population is getting definitely restive.
A great deal of cooking oil was usually brought from nearby Kazakhstan but its authorities banned oil export not long ago. Official Tashkent ascribes cooking oil shortage to this ban, but vendors themselves know better.
They say that the authorities of Uzbekistan once decided to apply the traditional administrative methods to bring the price of cooking oil down. The order was issued to sell cooking oil produced in the Commonwealth at no more than 1,800 sums or $1.4 a liter.
Needless to say, this decision made in the best traditions of the military communism caused what should have been foreseen. Loath to sell it at a loss, vendors withdrew cooking oil from stores. Everything is up to the authorities now. The artificially caused shortage will become history only when they admit their mistake and void the order.