By Majd Othman

KUWAIT: It seems the war in Ukraine and the current global situation has become a legitimate excuse for any price increase in the market. In Kuwait, cooperative societies are sparring with local suppliers to maintain prices of essential products such as eggs, that have been witnessing unjustified price hikes, according to the Kuwait Consumer Protection Association.

Meshaal Al-Manee

Meshaal Al-Mane, President of Kuwait Consumer Protection Association, told Kuwait Times that the increase in the price of eggs is illogical. "The suppliers are saying there is an increase in the price of wheat and poultry supplements globally. But the figures they are relying on are incorrect. If it is a temporary increase, it shouldn't be as high as 30 to 35 percent, as this will exhaust people's budgets," he said. "Prices should not exceed more than 15 percent, not to mention that shipping rates have fallen globally, which means the costs should be balanced."

Mane pointed out that before hiking the prices of local products, there are a few things that should be taken into account. "In addition to the reasons for increasing the prices, we should first calculate the margins. Earlier, the government provided financial support from the ministry of commerce to maintain prices, but in general we cannot consider this as a real solution to the problem," he said.

"Cooperatives are the largest sales points in the country, with sales estimated at more than one billion Kuwaiti dinars annually. Therefore, these sales points won't be able to increase the prices, which will affect the consumer eventually. Currently, the scenario is repeating itself with eggs - the suppliers want to control the market and increase prices. Every time we suffer from the same struggles: Cooperatives are refusing to increase prices and suppliers are refusing to sell, which is illegal. The consumer suffers from this disruption, which leads to price increases," Mane said.

Mane stressed that the ministry of commerce should implement controlled procedures before financially supporting the market and providing a clear and detailed vision to the consumers and the government for a full picture about global price increases and price comparisons of raw materials. "The price increase that is occurring in the market currently looks deliberate, especially the huge hike in the prices of local eggs, from 950 fils to KD 1.650," he said.

Baddah Al-Dosari

Mane called on consumers to take responsibility and boycott these companies until prices become stable. "Every time these companies force the ministry of commerce to support the market, while the only victim are the consumers," he rued.

President of Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies Baddah Al-Dosari said the issue of expensive eggs will be resolved in a couple of days, calling on suppliers and companies to hold a meeting to discuss the price increase. Dosari said the consumer union will negotiate with foreign companies and suppliers to provide Kuwait with eggs if needed, pointing out the sudden price increase of eggs occurred with the opening of schools and increased demand from consumers for eggs and milk products.