Rising prices worry low-income families
Many low-income Saudi families suffer from the annual price increase of essential commodities especially during the holy month of Ramadan. With salaries often not exceeding more than SR5,000, these families are the hardest-hit when it comes to a surge in prices.
Every year, prices suddenly peak in Ramadan followed by a directive to slash them, only to increase again. Such fluctuations in prices of goods greatly affect the budget of low-income families who have to adjust accordingly.
Arab News spoke to a number of families about their views regarding the price increases in Jeddah that have coincided with the month of Ramadan.
“We hate shopping because of the price increase of essential commodities such as food and hygiene-related items,” said Khaled Bakara. “We keep hearing about decisions urging retailers and suppliers to lower the prices which are applied for a week or so only to rise again,” he added.
Salman Alkaaf said: “It is unfortunate that these prices increase around the crucial time of Ramadan when suppliers and retailers take advantage of the consumers’ greed and raise their prices. They already sell the items at increased prices throughout the year but decide to increase them further during the holy month.”
He added that authorities and officials concerned should set the prices of essential commodities and carry out inspections to ensure that the retailers abide by them. This measure should help to curb the phenomenon of retailers raising their prices arbitrarily, he said.
He also suggested that officials increase the salaries of government and private sector employees on an annual basis.
Nader Nazar said he is alarmed by the poor level of inspection of retailer stores, arguing that this gives these retailers a greater opportunity to increase prices without taking their consumers into consideration.
In the opinion of Saeed Bajajh, an accounting professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, commercial markets and grocery stores throughout the Kingdom are experiencing fierce levels of competition as consumer demands for Ramadan products increase.
He said he has seen a significant increase in the price of Ramadan goods by more than 25 percent compared to last year, largely due to the lack of strict supervision by the Ministry of Commerce on retailers to stem monopolistic practices in the market.