Commerce Department inspectors raid 7,400 grocery stores in 24 hours

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — The Ministry of Commerce has launched an intensive inspection campaign covering all grocery stores and essential goods outlets across the Kingdom to monitor prices and stocks of goods as part of the containment of manipulation prices and the protection of consumer rights.

Ministry inspectors have raided more than 7,400 grocery stores in the past 24 hours.

This was under the directives of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who is also the chairman of the Council for Economic Affairs and Development (CEDA). While chairing the CEDA meeting on Monday, the Crown Prince stressed the need to tackle rising prices.

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.

The ministry closely monitors 217 basic food products by monitoring their prices in all regions of the Kingdom through an electronic system that compares the prices of these products with prices in neighboring countries, and by monitoring any influence on supply. and demand. .

The ministry warned that any cases of consumer fraud or manipulation will be dealt with firmly.

Intensive inspection rounds would continue over the next few days across the Kingdom as part of the ministry’s drive to contain price manipulation, monitor product stock, ensure multiplicity of their suppliers and availability of alternative products to create free competition for the benefit of consumers.

The inspection raids would cover commercial establishments, markets and outlets in all parts of the Kingdom. The penalties provided for by commercial law will be imposed on any person caught in the act of fraud or misleading the consumer.

While emphasizing that the consumer is a partner in reporting commercial offences, the ministry called on all consumers not to hesitate to report any instances of price manipulation by calling the unified number 1900 or through the Balag Tijari app.

Edward N. Arrington