Distributors of essential commodities in the country will soon have to seek prior approval from the ministry of business and trade for any price revision.
The government is working on a mechanism, which makes it compulsory for distributors to state the reasons for revising prices of essential items and obtain approval from the ministry of business
and trade before carrying out the hike.
“We will set up the mechanism in the near future,” the Minister of Business and Trade HE Sheikh Fahd bin Jassim al-Thani told Gulf Times here yesterday.
Sheikh Fahd said the authority to either sanction or reject the price revision proposal would vest with his ministry.
“We will examine the reasons for a price revision proposal. The distributor concerned has to justify the need for revising the price of essential commodities he deals with,” Sheikh
He said his ministry usually did not interfere with the prices of essential items in the local market. The policy is that the market must dictate the prices.
“However, if we feel there is a need to act, we will. We will not allow anyone to exploit a peculiar situation and jack up prices of essential commodities without valid reasons,” Sheikh Fahd said.
Asked why there was variation in the price of a specific item in different shops across Qatar, the minister said, “You may see such difference in prices for a variety of reasons. It is not very unusual.”
He said the department of consumer protection at the ministry of business and trade had been able to facilitate competition by publishing the prices of major essential commodities at key retailerships across the country.
“We do this on a weekly basis and post the information on the ministry website. A lot of awareness has been created on the subject with the active involvement of the local media,” Sheikh Fahd said.
He, however, added it is not his ministry’s intention of influencing a customer to opt for purchasing from any particular retailer.
“We leave the choice to consumers – where to go and what to buy,” Sheikh Fahd added.
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