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Minister assures no hike in prices

KUWAIT: Minister of Commerce and Industry Yousef Al-Ali affirmed yesterday that the introduction of new fuel prices from tomorrow will not “affect prices of basic commodities”. Any unjustified bid to raise prices “will be met with firm measures by ministry inspectors”, he said, warning wholesale and retail merchants and businessmen against hiking prices on the pretext that fuel costs have increased.

Ali was speaking during a visit to Siddeeq yesterday, adding there can be no increase in prices without the approval of the Ministry of Commerce. He said the government will apply law 10/79 with its penalties against price manipulators. “It is the citizens’ right to complain and inform the ministry if anyone raises prices. The complainant must prove the increase with a receipt. Then the ministry decide whether the seller had the right to raise the price or not,” he explained.

Ali said that the ministry has already issued 372 citations in August, of which only 11 were related to raising prices, while the rest were for offenses including not labeling the price of a product or its expiry date, pointing out that the ministry has taken legal procedures against such violations and those who committed them. “Till this moment, there have been no significant increases in (necessities’) prices, except in some cases,” he added, reaffirming violators have been referred to the commercial prosecution.

Ministry staff, including those entrusted with trade supervision and consumer protection, have been working diligently to counter any drastic hike in the prices of basic products. He urged citizens to call the hotline 135 to report any violations.

By Faten Omar

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