In a consumer-friendly move, Qatar has asked all retailers and wholesalers in the country not to raise the prices of any commodity without prior permission of the authorities.
The message to the wholesale and retail outlets was conveyed by the Department of Consumer Protection at the Ministry of Business and Trade during their periodical meeting with representatives of leading shopping outlets on Sunday.
“Some traders have sought permission to raise the prices of certain commodities but we have turned down their requests,” Sheikh Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, Director of the Department, told reporters yesterday.
Addressing a news conference, he clarified that the Department did not interfere in fixing commodity prices in the country, except in rare cases. The most recent instance was when the prices of soft drinks and beverages were raised in the local market. The Department asked traders to revert to the old prices.
The Department in the past had also intervened to fix the prices of Australian mutton slaughtered in Qatar at QR14.50 a kg to curtail an unreasonable hike in prices. In a similar move, the wholesale prices of cement bricks were fixed at QR1.80 per piece, explained Sheikh Jassim. The Department has been issuing monthly lists charting the prices of essential commodities at leading retail outlets in the country to encourage competition to benefit the common consumer.
“We revise the list frequently to include more commodities. During the forthcoming Ramadan, we will include those items that will be of special demand in the holy month,” said Sheikh Jassim.
Regarding complaints about the ongoing summer offers at various shopping outlets, the official said, no shop was allowed to announce any promotion without securing approval of his Department.
“They should apply for approval three months in advance with all the necessary documents, including purchase invoices of the promotion items. The licence should be displayed prominently in the shop for public viewing. Only those items for which permission has been given can be included in the promotion. Other items should be displayed separately,” said Sheikh Jassim
Shops that are found violating these regulations face instant fines of up to QR10,000. According to Sheikh Jassim, his Department will take complaints from the public seriously and initiate action.
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