Oman's consumer watchdog monitoring food staple availability, prices

Energy Monday 16/March/2020 20:52 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman's consumer watchdog monitoring food staple availability, prices

Muscat: As part of its efforts to keep pace with coronavirus-related developments, the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) has reaffirmed its preparedness to monitor and regulate markets in all governorates of the Sultanate.
The statement was made by Hamoud bin Said al-Jabri, Director General of Consumer Services and Market Monitoring at the PACP.
Al-Jabri pointed out that, with a view to stem price hikes that might be imposed under the pretext of coronavirus developments, the PACP has formed working teams to follow up local markets round the clock to ensure the availability of staple foods and the commitment of suppliers and sales outlets to standard prices.
He added that a number of meetings were held with owners of pharmacies, hypermarkets, commercial outlets and distributors to urge them to secure the availability of large quantities of medical goods that are highly needed for protection against coronavirus.
Al-Jabri explained that a surge in global demand for face masks, medical sterilisers and sanitisers has caused a huge rush that drained international markets of these items, and some countries have banned their export leading to further constraints.
PACP is checking import bills and clearing documents to ensure that these items are sold to local consumers at reasonable prices, said al-Jabri, who stressed that legal action will be taken against exploiters of the situation and that PACP teams are keeping an eye on the local market to ensure its stability.
The PACP also denied rumours circulating about an approval to raise the prices of hand sanitisers for a pharmacy. The PACP said in a statement that "the authority has not given any approval to the pharmacy to raise prices and the pharmacies that have done so were in violation and necessary legal measures are being taken regarding this matter."
On Sunday, authorities have asked people in the Sultanate not to worry about the shortage of food supply in the wake of coronavirus.
Dr Said bin Rashid al-Masroori, CEO of the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserve (PASFR), has confirmed the availability of enough staple foods in marketing and distribution outlets in different governorates of the Sultanate. He reaffirmed that there is no reason whatsoever to worry about the sufficiency of these commodities in the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement to Oman News Agency (ONA), Al Masroori explained that PASFR directorates have undertaken measures to provide food commodities in marketing outlets. He said that reserves in the authority’s stores are capable of meeting the needs of consumers.