Ministry to set price ceilings if commodities prices continue to rise

jordan chamber of industry
(Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Representative of the food industries sectors at the Jordan Chamber of Industry Mohammad Al-Jeitan said that prices in Jordan are now “almost stable”, due to the existence of stocks of goods, but that a rise in prices may be expected.اضافة اعلان

He told Jordan News that the rise in oil prices, especially in Jordan, “is not new; they began to rise gradually in August 2020, because vegetable oil is not produced in Jordan, it is only packaged here after importing it.”

He said that this rise in the price of vegetable oil started during the COVID-19 pandemic, as there was “great demand for it and shortage of agricultural crops.”

Prices in Jordan are currently rising, according to Jeitan, “but no increase is expected during the holy month of Ramadan.”

“We have a safe stock of products, sufficient for the month of Ramadan and beyond,” he added.

Mohamed Obeidat, head of the National Society for Consumer Protection, told Jordan News that “the prices of basic products such as oils and some types of vegetables are high for illogical reasons known only to the monopolists.”

He added that “if the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply does not take legal measures regarding product prices, they will continue to rise. The ministry has the duty to control the markets, set price ceilings, and try to sell all basic products in the civil and military consumer corporations through ration cards or any other means it deems appropriate.”

Obeidat also said that there are sufficient quantities of basic products in the markets, “but we need control from the ministry, on the one hand, and rationality from the consumers when buying their needs, on the other; they have to buy certain quantities that meet their needs only.”

Industry Ministry spokesperson Yanal Barmawi told Jordan News that the ministry continuously monitors the local markets and is keen to secure abundance of stocks, adding that it works constantly, in coordination with the industrial and commercial sectors, to meet the needs of citizens.

Barmawi said that the ministry constantly monitors the prices of basic commodities and any price increases that may occur “in order to take the needed measures based on the provisions of the Industry and Trade Law”.

“When it turns out that there is an exaggeration in prices, some measures are taken, including setting price ceilings for some commodities,” he added.

According to Barmawi, the stock of food commodities is sufficient, prices are generally stable, “and in light of the meetings held by the ministry with the concerned authorities, there will be no price hikes in the month of Ramadan”.

The head of the Amman Chamber of Commerce, Khalil Haj Tawfiq, said on Monday, during a meeting of the General Association for Foodstuffs Merchants, that the government only imports wheat from abroad, adding that the rise in oil prices has nothing to do with the Russian-Ukrainian war.

He also said that the prices of dates will be stable in Ramadan because Jordan imports them from Saudi Arabia.

He added that merchants are now suffering from citizens’ weak purchasing power, pointing out that the Russian-Ukrainian war doubled the burden due to the high cost of shipping.

At the same time, he pointed out that Food and Agricultural Organization studies show a rise in prices of foodstuff months before the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Jordan consumes 120,000 tonnes of oil, he said, stressing that the price of oil in Jordan is among the lowest in the region, including in the countries that export oil, and that the government does not agree with the traders who wish to raise prices.

Haj Tawfiq called for the abolition of the sales tax on some foodstuffs, as most basic materials are exempt from customs, adding that the demand for corn oil has decreased, as 60 percent of the world's exports of sunflower oil are from Ukraine and Russia, which caused a problem in countries, and that palm oil price has risen globally. He called for a change in the consumption pattern of sunflower oil.

He added that the local market consumes 100,000 tonnes of rice. The price of rice reached $1,400 in the US and that of basmati rice grew in the country of origin (India), and these types of rice constitute a large part of the local market consumption.

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