House committee urges gov’t to introduce price caps

Parties call for boycott of fuel, basic goods

market food
A general photo from the vegetable market in downtown Amman. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/ Jordan News)
AMMAN — The head of the Lower House’s Financial Committee urged the government Saturday to increase its control over the market and establish price ceilings on goods and services.اضافة اعلان

MP Mohammad Al-Saudi also stressed reducing demand for commodities as an effective method of reducing their price.

Some political parties have also called on the public to boycott oil derivatives and other essentials to pressure the government to lower prices.

In an interview with Jordan News, Saudi said that the committee is in direct and regular contact with the officials responsible for price ceilings, and that they are currently examining social protection systems.

He did, however, add that he is unsatisfied with the government’s performance and that the situation requires swifter research and decision-making.

The lawmaker further said that the public’s boycott of chicken helped to facilitate the foodstuff’s subsequent price fall, which it could do again with other commodities.

Rather than a complete boycott, however, he said that a reduction in purchases would result in price decreases automatically.

Wages have not increased since 2008 despite regular price increases, according to Saudi, who added that the government’s focus now is on increasing social protections such that wages are consistent with Jordan’s high prices.

The lawmaker attributed much of the global price increases to the war in Ukraine, rising oil prices, and worldwide supply-chain disruptions, but contended that merchants also took advantage of the resulting rise in prices by hiking prices further without explanation.

He said that the government should investigate market prices and set precise price ceilings to reduce price gouging and that there should be continuous control over the market, especially now.
Calls for more boycotts
Secretary-General of the Al-Hayat Jordanian Party Abdul Fattah Al-Kilani told Jordan News in an interview that some parties are urging the public to boycott certain commodities in order to pressure the government into lowering prices and introducing price caps on fuel, among other goods.

He noted that, in 2007, the state spent JD700 million on subsidizing oil derivatives, while today the government’s taxation of oil derivatives raises JD1.2 billion annually. In light of the current circumstances, Kilani said it is within the public’s rights to ask the government to lower taxes where possible.

Kilani said he was optimistic that this popular action would encourage the government to protect the rights of the public without undermining the rights of merchants and producers.

In 1985, the UN adopted the “guidelines for consumer protection” in which it laid out, among other things, consumers’ rights to be heard and seek redressal against unfair trade practices. According to Kilani, Jordanians are doing the latter today.

According to Murad Al-Adayleh, secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front, boycotting is a Jordanian’s right and a democratic way to show opposition to price increases, in which government taxes play a significant role.

According to him, citizens should boycott imported items — particularly those subject to high government taxes — as a method to promote and protect local products while also exerting pressure on the government to lower taxes.

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