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Stick to prices of eggs approved by ministry or face penalty, co-ops told

‘Exports to neighboring countries cause shortage’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 29: Chairman of the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies Khaled Al-Hudaiban has called on the heads of cooperative societies to adhere to the egg prices approved by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry; warning that those who violate pricing regulations will be held accountable considering the shortage of eggs in most cooperatives, reports Al-Qabas daily.

Al-Hudaiban clarified that in the event of the continuation of the eggs crisis which began months ago, the union will implement its policies for importing varieties of eggs. He affirmed this will help in covering the needs of the local market, cooperative societies and their branches, in coordination with the competent authorities.

He said meetings were held with representatives of government agencies and owners of egg-producing companies, so this will most likely pump additional quantities of eggs in cooperative societies within the next two days. He added that at the moment, demand is higher than supply.

He revealed the union recorded price increase violations against two cooperatives after receiving complaints about the difference in prices of food items between two cooperatives. Representatives of the two companies and the two procurement heads were summoned within two days of recording the violations.

He pointed out the union does not hesitate in taking action against any entity or company working to increase prices and create differences between cooperatives, stressing that food and essential commodities must be available to consumers without any interruption or difference in prices. Head of Al-Raqqa Cooperative Society Eyadah Al-Shammari informed the daily last September that the lack of eggs in some cooperatives is due to local egg-producing companies which export their products to neighboring countries. He asserted this is contrary to local regulations because egg is among the subsidized items.

Al-Shammari added some companies reduced the quantity of eggs supplied to cooperative societies as a result of the export of large quantities outside the country, saying that the society witnessed the disappearance of eggs for two consecutive days.

This happened despite the commitment of companies stipulated in the contracts, he said. Al-Qabas daily published a report in the middle of last month about the scarcity of eggs in some cooperative societies compared to previous days for various reasons, which contributed to rapid sales in parallel markets with a slight increase in prices.

Consumers, who experienced scarcity of eggs in cooperatives located in the areas of their residence, resorted to parallel markets where eggs were abundant and sold at a reasonable price.

This is after the price of a carton of eggs reached KD 1.250, while they were sold at prices ranging from KD 1.050 to KD 1.150 in most cooperatives. Observers criticized the delayed action of the concerned parties in finding lasting solutions to this crisis before its aggravation, particularly since it began months ago. They added this type of food is essential; hence, it is difficult to be absent from consumer tables.

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