The Saudi Consumer Protection Society (CPS) plans to launch consumer cooperative societies with the aim of checking the trend of unscrupulous price hiking in local markets.
“The CPS is striving to stabilize prices of 1,000 food and consumer goods with a number of measures in coordination with related government departments. The priority is to set up consumer cooperative societies,” said CPS President Nasser Al-Towaim.
Al-Towaim also said there is the need to bring all essential goods under a scheme of food supply regulations, Al-Eqtisadiah reported yesterday.
“There is no justification for retail traders demanding higher prices for some essential goods except their greed and lack of a culture of social responsibility,” Al-Towaim added.
He said consumer protection societies have been playing a major role in keeping prices at a steady level in several Gulf markets. Such cooperative societies have succeeded in stabilizing prices of 100 essential commodities in the United Arab Emirates. There are 60 consumer societies in Qatar and 160 goods that are covered by consumer societies in Kuwait.
“It is time that this system is implemented in the Kingdom,” he said.
He explained how the societies could check prices in local markets. “The societies will import directly from foreign suppliers and market the goods through their outlets at ethically right prices,” he said.
He hoped that the move would bring about a 20 percent drop in prices in local markets.
Meanwhile, consumers in the Eastern Province complained that prices of dates, coffee and cardamom have leaped 20 percent in some shops over the last five days.
A trader of dates and coffee attributed the hike to the huge increase in demand. “Consumption of dates and coffee spirals by 70 percent during Ramadan compared to other seasons. That is the reason why prices go up in the Eastern Province, Riyadh and the western region,” he said.
Denying any shady role of retailers in the current hike, the trader said major distributors of dates hiked the prices and they did not leave any option for retailers to sell at lower rates.