Pockets of People in Kuwait Grapple with Soaring Prices

Blatant violation of ‘stabilize prices’ decision

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KUWAIT CITY, Dec 25: Kuwaiti Society for Consumer Protection Chairperson Khaled Al-Subaie said the local markets witnessed an increase in the price of frozen chicken from KD 8.900 to KD15.900 fils per carton, reports Al-Anba daily. According to Al-Subaie, the price of 400 grams of a type of tea increased from KD1.215 to KD2.565 while the weight was reduced to 350 grams, and the price of washing powder increased by approximately 20 percent.

He pointed out this is a violation of the decisions issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to stabilize prices, and the laws prohibiting unjustified or artificial price hikes. He clarified that the justified price increase usually ranges from five to 10 percent; provided there is a change in the product like weight increase, not weight reduction. He warned that the artificial price hikes lead to the increase in the prices of other basic products; thereby, draining the pockets of consumers. He appealed to the concerned authorities to intervene to prevent unjustified price hikes and to strictly apply the law to violators.

On the other hand, sources from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry revealed that the ministry sent a letter to the Consumer Cooperative Societies Union on not allowing suppliers to increase the prices of their products and to provide the ministry with data on suppliers that raised prices along with the pieces of evidence to take the necessary action against them. Sources said Minister of Commerce and Industry Mohammad Al-Aiban had earlier instructed the Commercial Control and Consumer Protection Sector in the ministry to tighten control over local markets, as some traders are expected to take advantage of the decision to increase the financial privileges granted to retirees.

They affirmed that the sector is implementing a well-prepared plan to stabilize prices and prevent price hikes in local markets. Sources indicated that the decision to freeze commodity prices was taken to protect consumers, by not allowing price hikes without the ministry’s approval based on law number 10 of 1979, which gives the Minister of Commerce and Industry the power to take such action, and that any increase in prices will be interpreted as an artificial increase and those proven to have committed violations will be referred to the Commercial Prosecution.

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