Call to probe cases of fraud, monitor performance
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 13: The recent crisis of mullet fish revealed that the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) is lax in its duties and has not taken any executive measures to find sustainable solutions to the problems during the auction at the markets, because it has ignored the results of a detailed study which was made in December 2015 by the Competition Protection Agency, affiliated to the Minister of Commerce, to improve the performance of these markets, reports Al- Jarida daily.
The study, which was prepared by the agency in collaboration with the World Bank Group, showed that the current practices at the auction markets shows the failure to put down rules and regulations to ensure fair competition in the market, and the lack of these rules to determine the responsibilities of the competent authorities, as well failure to apply them effectively.
The study which addressed the reasons leading to abnormal price increases called on the Ministry of Commerce to issue licenses to brokers selling fish and shrimp, and monitor their performance, and investigate cases of fraud if prices are raised without justification.
It concluded with several recommendations, including the definition of a clear set of guidelines that encourage competition in accordance with international practice, the design criteria for the organization of fish market auctions, the strengthening of the role of the Ministry of Commerce as a central authority, the completion of the role of the Municipality after the completion of inspection of fish after arrival into the market, as well as continuing the current role of both the Ministry of Health and the Coast Guard, and Ministry of Commerce to appoint auction managers.
The recommendations also included improving the processing and spatial organization of the three auction sites, removing or easing restrictions on fishermen to access the market, increasing transparency, appropriately registering and identifying actual bidders, identifying and organizing a number of steps prior to the auction, and strengthening the way in which prices are offered according to best practices.