Commerce Ministry has commented to Arab news that the residents have been alerted against purchase of rice from traders and importers as there is a lack of price control mechanism which results in increased price of essential commodity in some situations by as much as 40 percent. The ministry has started working with consumer protection agencies to warn suppliers about hiking prices and it has been declared that if any suppliers are found with charging unjustifiable high prices shall be fined at least SR 40,000.
The prices for 10-Kg bag of rice has already exceeded by SR 100 over viewing the upcoming Umrah pilgrims. But the traders have given a justification saying that price hike is a result of imbalanced supply and demand in spite of a global decrease in price of food commodities.
Residents have displayed dissatisfaction complaining that prices started to increase two weeks ago without any justification and hence depicting lack of a price control mechanism. Hence they are forced to buy smaller bags of five-kilogram priced between SR40 and SR50 at various stores.
An economist, Ihsan Buhulaiga has commented that ministry has to take the responsibility for initiating proper market surveillance and this rise of price is unjustified as there is lack of price control mechanism The solution recommended by him is the ministry needs to strengthen the recently introduced price index and provide fixed database on the important food commodities. This will ensure that the buyers know about the true value of the imported items.