Like the rest of the Turkmenistan economy, much of the country's retail and wholesale sector remain under the control of the central government. However, informal markets also operate in the country, at which a wide variety of consumer goods, including food, clothing and household wares, may be purchased. In 1994, the government established the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange as a means to regulate all trade and to restrict foreign competitors from controlling the market during the economic transition to a free market economy. Domestic trade involving locally produced goods is free from government regulations. Distribution of these products is generally facilitated through a state wholesale network. Most transactions are conducted only in cash. A value-added tax of 20% applies to most goods and services. Commercial advertising is under government control.
The work week is from 9 AM to 6 PM , Monday to Friday, with an hour for lunch. Many government officials and businesses regularly work on Saturday.