Jakarta — Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita expressed confidence that the government would be able to control food prices ahead of Ramadan fasting month, which starts on May 15. “We guarantee that all stocks are secure and we hope there will be no significant price increase,” he said after a meeting on food prices at the Ministry of Trade in Jakarta on Wednesday (28/03). Basic commodity prices tend to increase during Ramadan because people usually have different meals to break their fast. Enggartiasto said the ministry led by its domestic trade director general, Tjahya Widayanti, would cooperate with the National Police to ensure that there would be no disruption in food distribution. The ministry, in particularly, would closely look at the distribution of rice, which increased in price late last year, the ministry said. “As of April 1, all rice merchants must have medium rice and sell it at ceiling prices. If they don’t have the stock, the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) can supply them with the commodity,” Enggartiasto added. The government has set a ceiling price for medium-quality price according to region: Rp 9,450 (70 U.S. cents) per kilogram in Java, Lampung, South Sumatra, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi; Rp 9,950 the rest of Sumatra, Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara and Rp 10,250 in Maluku and Papua. Meat prices would also be monitored, said Enggartiasto, adding that the ministry would only issue meat import permits for those who sell it at Rp 80,000 per kg.