KEEP PRICES FAIR: Call to not raise prices of basic commodities without government approval

ACTIVISTS have called for obliging traders not to raise prices of basic commodities without government approval.

They also said consumer protection laws should be made stricter along with enforcement of tougher penalties.

Human rights activists, who were attending a symposium on consumer protection laws in Bahrain, recommended that traders must submit a study with supporting documents to justify price rises, in line with experiences in neighbouring countries.

The move aims to confront the crisis of rising prices facing citizens, they said, and stressed the need to review subsidy programmes based on inflation rates.

This came during a symposium, Activating Bahraini National Laws Related to Consumer Protection, as part of the activities of the ‘Human Rights Forum’ being held by the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society.

They underlined the need to activate consumer protection laws by defining consumer rights and obligations of the supplier, monitoring competition and monopoly, controlling violations and enhancing the enforcement of penalties.

The activists also requested an increase in the number of inspectors in charge of consumer protection.

They also called for prohibiting imposition of additional amounts on the consumer when purchasing products with a credit card, combating commercial fraud, imposing control over discounts and promotional campaigns.

Stepped up inspections must also aim to prevent price manipulation, tighten penalties and close manipulative outlets, investigate all consumer complaints and follow-up on providing advice to consumer inquiries.

This will enhance consumer confidence and secure a fair and safe commercial environment which will protect consumers in an effective and efficient manner, the activists said.

New measures must also include strengthening the Consumer Protection and Goods Control Directorate at the Industry and Commerce Ministry and putting in place an integrated team to cover all governorates, linking prices to an integrated electronic network across the kingdom and announcing them daily to the public.

The symposium witnessed a review of an initiative to combat high prices, which was launched by former parliamentary candidate, Abdullah Al Sahli, pointing out the great interaction of citizens and residents with the initiative.




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