All not happy with Ramadan price list

August 05, 2010 - 11:12:52 pm

DOHA: Not everyone is happy with the list of 156 food and non-food items for which maximum prices have been fixed by the trade ministry for Ramadan, with some people saying consumers should have been consulted in the preparation of the list.

Critics of the Ramadan price freeze argue that consumers at large are not familiar with many items that figure on the list because it has not been drawn up in consultation with them.

“I think there is a need to involve consumers if you are making a list of food and non-food items of mass use,” Fatima Al Dosari, a national, told Al Sharq.

She said price rise continued to be a cause of worry for the common man as many people had to borrow to make ends meet. Ramadan being a time when families spend a lot on food because they invite guests and distribute food items to relatives and friends, price rise hurts the most during the month.

“Because the prices remain high here, people (a reference of fellow citizens) still visit neighbouring countries to buy provisions because they are cheaper there,” she said.

According to Al Dosari, one of the most effective ways to ensure that prices ease in the country is to encourage local production of items which can be grown in local conditions.

Householder Ahmed Al Muthanni said the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Business and Trade should not claim any credit for fixing the prices of 156 items during Ramadan because the list is insufficient.

“It’s not a big deal,” he said of the department’s Ramadan price curbing drive. “They published the list in newspapers and that was all. The department should distribute booklets to raise public awareness,” he said.

Nothing short of curbing the prices of a large number of what he said were basic food and non-food items round-the-year would satisfy him, Al Muthanni hinted.

Meanwhile, major outlets have reported a jump of at least 60 percent in the sale of many of the 156 items whose prices are reduced during the holy month.