The Consumer Protection Association (CPA) said it is planning to file a petition with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry asking them to control the prices of essential goods during the holy month of Ramadan.
CPA President Nasser Al-Tuwaim told Arab News: “Each year, despite the price index devised by the Ministry of Commerce to control prices of essential items such as meat, vegetables and dairy products, traders are still drastically increasing prices ahead of and during Ramadan.”
Prices of vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower have already gone up by as much as half.
Tomatoes, priced at SR 8 to SR 10 a couple of weeks ago, have increased to as much as SR 15.
A bag of potatoes that were priced at SR 5 to SR 7 now costs as much as SR 13, while a carton of cauliflowers selling for SR 15 to SR 20 a week ago has leapt in price to around SR 40.
Al- Tuwaim added the CPA is working with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to compile a price study that includes researching imported foods and other goods’ country of origin and checking prices against local retail prices to identify which companies and traders are unjustifiably hiking prices.
On the other hand, some officials claim that it is not only the government’s responsibility or traders’ fault that there are price hikes during the holy month, but also consumer’s loyalty to certain brands that create high grocery bills.
Faisal Bataweel, manager for corporate social responsibility at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said: “I feel that instead of complaining or having government bodies monitor prices, consumers should also learn that in order to save money they should abandon the practice of being loyal to specific brands and try cheaper alternatives.”
However, Al-Tuwaim said consumers can help protect against price increases during Ramadan by reporting violations to the CPA.
Call 01 456 3666, fax 01 450 7677 or visit www.cpa.org.sa