MPs call for halt to market pricing

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 16: Several lawmakers have asked Minister of Commerce and Industry Yusuf Al-Ali to immediately stop the implementation of his decision on floating or market price through which the prices of commodities are determined according to the law of supply and demand. They urged the minister to use the previous pricing system – fixed prices for commodities, products and services — in order to protect the interests of consumers.

In a press statement, MP Faisal Al-Kandari stressed it is unreasonable that the minister retracted the decision he took in April on the fix pricing system only to issue another decision on floating price. He finds it strange that the recent decision was taken a few weeks before the implementation of the government’s decision to increase gasoline prices. He pointed out that consumer protection is the joint responsibility of the government and Parliament; hence, the need for both authorities to coordinate their efforts in serving the interests of consumers.

Corroborating the views of his colleague, MP Sultan Al- Gusaim said the lawmakers will never support decisions that do not take into consideration the welfare of citizens while putting them in the hands of greedy traders. He then called on the Consumer Protection Department to play its role efficiently.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Public Funds Protection Committee MP Adullah Al-Turaiji said Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khalid has confirmed that HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al- Sabah is closely following up work of the parliamentary committee tasked to investigate the alleged irregularities in the distribution of agricultural plots.

Al-Turaiji made the statement after the committee met Tuesday in the presence of Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khalid, State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Dr Ali Al- Omair and some officials in the ministries of Interior and Commerce. He revealed the committee expressed dissatisfaction over a letter from the director of the Agriculture Authority stating refusal to hand over a number of documents under the pretext that they are not covered by the mandate.

He praised the interior minister for fully supporting the committee, indicating the minister has instructed Assistant Undersecretary for Criminal Security Abdul Hameed Awadhi and Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports Affairs General Mazen Al-Jarrah to cooperate with the committee by providing all the necessary documents.

He said the director of Commercial Companies Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry talked about the suspicious links between some employees and officials in the ministry with the Agriculture Authority in relation to the allegation that some citizens have received agricultural plots through fraudulent companies.

He added Al-Omair affirmed his readiness to hand over the documents that the committee needs in order to finalize its task.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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