PACP warns against price hike during Ramadhan

By Kabeer Yousuf — MUSCAT: April 30 – Stringent measures are in place to ensure the price of essential commodities is not increased during the month of Ramadhan, said the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP). All hypermarkets and other retail outlets are ready to carry out special promotions during the month. They should offer Ramadhan baskets at the same price, failing which stern action will be taken against the erring retail outlets, said the PACP. ‘Ramadhan basket’ will have 11 different items essential for Ramadhan iftar (breaking fast) and suhoor (beginning of fast), and should be priced less than RO 10.
“We are closely monitoring the market; no price increase without a valid and justifiable reason will be allowed,” Omar bin Faisal al Jahdami, Deputy Chairman, Consumer Services and Market Monitoring at PACP, told the Observer.
He said that the consumers can, upon finding any wrongdoing or price hike at any retail outlet, call 80079009 or 80077997 to report violations. A team of inspectors will take up the matter.
“Any commercial establishment found violating the rule will be fined RO 800 on the first day. The fine amount will multiply for every additional day if it fails to withdraw the same from the market.”
The PACP officials are constantly monitoring the movement of goods at Mawaleh Central Market to check prices of fruits and vegetables. It is working closely with malls and supermarkets to monitor the demand and supply of food and other essential commodities.
PACP has deployed its inspectors at check-posts to record the number of trucks entering the Sultanate with provisions and their origin.
“This year, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has granted permission to some major retailers to run a scheme in which vouchers will be offered to customers in advance so they can buy provisions at a discount throughout the month,” said Omar.
“The ministry has also permitted a poultry company to offer 50 per cent discount on select products as part of or apart from the Ramadhan basket,” he said.