We will prevent price manipulation: Minister


Saudi Gazette report

Riyadh — Commerce Minister Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi confirmed that they are taking all appropriate measures to prevent any price manipulation.

Dr Al-Qasabi made the remarks on Tuesday during the government’s periodic communication press conference, which focused on rising prices, as he said the impact of rising prices and inflation is a crisis that affects every family and every home, and the whole world is suffering from it now.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been like an economic, social and even psychological tsunami as it is considered the biggest crisis to hit and affect the whole world, he said.

Dr. Al-Qasabi mentioned 5 global events that have caused prices to increase over the past two years, from 2020 to the present day.

He said that in February 2020, the coronavirus swept the world leading to a curfew and restricted travel and transportation. Then, in March 2021, and after the pandemic recovery, demand increased relative to supply.

Al-Qasabi continued that the suspension of navigation through the Suez Canal had also had a significant impact. While in July 2021 came the second phase of the COVID-19 curfew, which suspended several things.

Finally, the event that increased the impact is what happened at the beginning of 2022, in February, namely the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

Dr Al-Qasabi confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian crisis have disrupted many ports around the world.

He explained the impact of world events on prices, which are several things, including: the transportation and supply chain crisis which led to the disruption of some transportation ports such as the main port of Shanghai, as well as the cost of transportation and shipping increased to about 6 times. In addition to the increased shipping insurance prices.

As for production and manufacturing, the minister said weak production and manufacturing has led to labor shortages and lower levels of food production and commodity manufacturing.

While he added that rising energy and raw material prices had caused transportation and shipping costs to rise due to high fuel prices, in addition to the increased cost of operation of factories and production lines.

The rationing of some countries’ strategic exports has had significant repercussions, Al-Qasabi said, saying it has led to higher prices for wheat, sugar, fodder, meat and poultry.

Dr. Al-Qasabi noted that the price increase differs between each country, pointing out that there are products in Saudi Arabia that are priced lower than neighboring countries.

“Costs of production and global exports rose after the pandemic recovery, and high costs of imported goods drove them up locally,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia is part of the world and is affected by world events, but the importance lies in how to deal with crises”

Dr. Al-Qasabi confirmed that they monitor 217 products daily as they take all appropriate measures to deal with any price manipulation or exaggeration.

The Commerce Minister confirmed that supervision teams conducted more than 640,000 commodity price surveillance operations, and 27,000 violations were monitored, stressing that violators were held accountable.

He also highlighted the existence of a food security committee which constantly monitors the availability of foodstuffs, in addition to the mechanisms to deal with crises.

The Minister of Commerce said at the press conference that the Kingdom’s leaders are feeling the impact of the global repercussions on food and commodity prices, which through this crisis had recently issued the approval on the basis of which Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman presented with an aid package to help deserving families cope with rising prices.

It should be noted that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, on Monday issued a royal order approving an allocation of SR20 billion to meet rising global prices, including SR10 billion for beneficiaries of the social security and the citizen’s account program.

Crown Prince Mohammed had earlier stressed the need to take into account the most needy citizens in the face of international developments which have led to an increase in the costs of certain basic needs.

He affirmed the important role of government ministries and agencies in monitoring international developments related to supply chains, monitoring markets, product availability, price levels, protecting and encouraging competition. fair, and the fight and prevention of monopolistic practices that affect legitimate competition and consumer interests.

Following the press conference, Dr Al-Qasabi called on everyone to cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce and report any price manipulation, calling 1900.

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