Prices of several food items in the local market that had started falling on the back of the global economic recession have shot up again, triggering concern among residents.
While traders attribute the rise in prices to price hikes in the source countries, several citizens believe that a section of the retailers are trying to cash in on the salary hike for nationals announced by the government recently.
Enquiries in the market yesterday revealed that retail prices of sugar, frozen chicken and eggs have gone up by 10 to 15 percent, after they had seen a significant fall in the recent months. However, prices of rice and cooking oil remain stable. Baby food has become dearer and non-food items like toiletries and household cleaning materials have also seen a steady rise in prices.
Prices of leading brands of frozen chicken that had reached QR13 per kilogramme had fallen to QR9 to QR10 due to a drop in the prices in the international market, following the financial crisis. Some other brands were earlier available at prices as low as QR6.50 per kilogramme.
“Such brands have now raised the prices up to QR9kg per kg while the leading brands are now available at QR11 per kg, approximately,” said a retailer.
Sugar, which cost QR10 for a five-kilogramme bag, is now priced between QR11 and QR12.50 for the same. Prices of egg have also shot up by about QR2 for a crate containing 30 pieces.
Saudi eggs, which dominate the market, are priced approximately QR20 per crate. The same was available at QR18 a few weeks ago, said the retailer.
Several nationals have called on the authorities to do strict monitoring to prevent the traders from hiking their prices according to their whims and fancies.
“Prices of essential commodities are falling globally. We also started feeling it, but now some traders are exploiting the situation to hike the prices. Strict monitoring is required to curb such practices,” said Ahmed Al Sheeb, a former member of the Central Municipal Council.
He suggested setting up of a hotline at the Consumer Protection Department to receive complaints from consumers.
Recently the Ministry of Economy and Commerce had intervened to revoke a hike in the prices of soft drinks and beverages. Hailing that gesture, several nationals and residents urged the authorities to take similar action to curtail any unreasonable hike in the prices of essential commodities.
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