Oman’s Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) is working together with the Ministry of Commerce to assure the public that there will not be any precipitous price rises in food staples and other necessary items as a result of the coming Ramadan season.
Despite the fact that consumers tend to spend more during Ramadan, the PACP is going to monitor retailers carefully so that they do not engage in price manipulation or in any other form of price gauging during a time when it would be easy to take advantage of a public which is engaged in observing the holiday.
"The prices of essential commodities have been somewhat constant since the beginning of this year, and will continue to be so throughout Ramadan. We have received all the assurances from suppliers regarding this. No malpractice of any sort will be tolerated, and consumers have the right to report them to us. Offenders will be dealt with as per the law," one official of the PACP declared.
It has been common practice in the past for such items as flour, bread, sugar, rice, vegetables, fruit, chicken, beef, mutton and eggs to rise parallel to the increased demand during Ramadan. This year, however, the traders in these goods stocked up adequate supplies to meet increased demand.
"We have enough stocks of all commodities to meet the projected demand. We don't find any reason to hike the prices," says Ananth A V, Country Manager, Lulu Hypermarket. “Any rise in the prices at the sources of imports, it will not affect us. At any cost we will maintain status quo on the prices."
"Despite increased demand, we expect the prices of staple food to remain at the present level. We also have a mechanism to prevent any rise," he says.
"There is good flow of vegetables from local producers without much fluctuation in the prices. Often what happens is that retailers do not buy directly from them. The supply chain is well exploited by the middlemen. They charge exorbitantly before the commodities reach the consumers," said Naveej Vinod, the Executive Director of Mars Hypermarket.