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Directorates need to secure Commodity Stocks and manage them efficiently


Jelena Pekic, Director of the Directorate for Commodity Reserves of the Canton Sarajevo (CS), spoke in an interview about the creation, restoration, use, and utilization of commodity stocks, as well as the provision of storage space for the accommodation and storage of commodity reserves.

Pekic was interviewed by Aida Hasanbegovic

The fear that the basic foodstuffs will disappear, that the shelves in stores will remain empty, was caused first by the COVID-19 pandemic, and then by the war in Ukraine. Mrs. Pekic, commodity reserves are in the function of calming the market, mitigating price shocks in the supply in case of market disturbances. Observing the overall index of the rate of price changes, what statistical data do you have at your disposal?”

The statistical indicators and prices we see on the shelves in shopping centers are not encouraging at all. At the end of 2021, compared to 2020, due to the effects of the pandemic, the prices of certain items rose significantly by over 30%, as was the case with oil. Unfortunately, the trend of price growth, further influenced by the war in Ukraine, continued during this year. According to the official statistical data of the Federal Bureau of Statistics, looking at the total price change index for the entire range of food products, we see that in April 2022, compared to April 2021, prices increased by 14.10%, while in May 2022, compared to May 2021, they grew by 15.10%. However, it is much more important for us to monitor the price movements of certain basic food items, which are an integral part of the consumption habits of our population. The price of oil in May this year was 66% higher compared to May last year, flour 49%, sugar 48.7%, chicken meat 35.10%, pasta and rice about 25%. So, from month to month, we had a significant increase in the prices of basic food items, which we regularly monitor.”

The fact is that the crisis forced many countries to further consider increasing reserves. What are commodity reserves and what constitutes them?

Commodity reserves are all those goods that should be available in case of certain extraordinary circumstances. Very often we have requests for the donation of certain goods, which we cannot answer because the law clearly stipulates in which cases goods from commodity reserves can be used, and those are the provision of the minimum needs of the population in conditions of war and immediate threat of war, elimination of disruptions in supply caused by natural disasters and other extraordinary circumstances, but also an intervention in the market in conditions of price and supply disruptions to the population and the economy. Our law in CS provides a fairly broad description of goods that can be a commodity reserve, from basic food products to hygiene products, medical equipment, medicines, raw materials for industry, to very important energy sources such as oil, heating oil, etc.”

Who is responsible for managing commodity reserves in CS?

The Government of CS is fully responsible for the management of commodity reserves. The Directorate is an independent cantonal administrative organization and is directly responsible for its work with the Government of CS. Therefore, the Government of the Canton adopts a plan for the procurement, production, and purchase of market surpluses for commodity reserves, determines the volume and structure of commodity reserves, secures funds, adopts the balance sheet and procurement dynamics, decides on the renewal of commodity reserves, the time and method of securing and using commodity reserves.”

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