Stockpiles of commodities sufficient for Ramadan — officials

(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Amid fears of a possible rise in prices of foodstuff, especially oil imports from Ukraine, of unforeseen interruptions in the supply chain, depletion of stockpiles, and an expected increase in consumption during Ramadan, officials and experts give their views on how the situation could be tackled.اضافة اعلان

President of the National Society of Consumer Protection Mohammad Obeidat urged the Ministry of Industry and Trade to take measures to limit price hikes of some basic commodities by ensuring sufficient stockpiles of goods during the holy month of Ramadan, tightening control over the market, and imposing severe penalties on anyone who tries to exercise monopoly or raise prices under the pretext of “short supplies or increased prices in the country of origin”.

Moreover, Obeidat said that the ministry should seek alternative markets and countries for imports to avoid the shortages of goods and increases in prices that occurred in countries affected by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, conduct thorough studies on commodity prices “and not leave pricing to traders who increase prices as they wish, without any oversight”.

The head of the Amman Chamber of Commerce, Khalil Haj Tawfiq, reassured that there are sufficient stockpiles, but expressed concern that any increase in import costs will affect the price of certain goods.

He said that the price of wheat rose to $470 per tonne from $300 per tonne, and this places pressure on the ministry’s budget, as the government is committed to a fixed price of bread and flour. He also noted that the government has maintained a steady fuel price during the past two months, despite the hike in international oil prices, and this again places pressure on the Treasury and on the relevant ministries’ budgets.

“The effect of the war in Ukraine has not been felt by Jordan yet, and it is still early to assess its impact on the markets," Haj Tawfiq said, urging authorities to anticipate events and assume the worst in light of threats and sanctions against Russia, adding that “the Jordanian economy cannot be immune from what is happening”.

Haj Tawfiq pointed out that the rise in the price of oil means higher freight rates, and a rise in the prices of iron, aluminum, and production inputs, which may put commodity prices at risk. He said it is the duty of the government to stand by importers until the crisis ends, noting that he has proposed that the Chamber of Commerce set up a crisis management cell to address market developments.

Head of Irbid Chamber of CommerceMuhammad Al-Shouha asserted that food prices will not be affected during Ramadan, and will remain within the normal range, pointing out that “the increase in vegetable oil prices is slight”.

Shouha said that enough goods and commodities are available to last for the holy month of Ramadan, so there is no need for people to stock up.

“Only some vegetable oils imported from Ukraine will be affected by a slight rise in prices, and for a limited period,” he said.

According to Shouha, several ships docked in Aqaba carry vegetable oils imported from Ukraine, but importers have been facing difficulty in clearing those shipments due to pending payments hindered by the war.

Several attempts to get a statement on the issue from the Ministry of Industry and Trade spokesperson were unsuccessful.

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