Low price vendors a pain in the govt’s neck
Pilgrims continue shopping at unauthorized stalls despite a clear warning from the Ministry of Health and the Makkah Municipality to do so, for this blocks pedestrian routes and prevent security forces from carrying out their duties.
Customers often approach them for easy accessibility to the vendors and their requirement.
Akrami Ai from Pakistan, who is currently on Haj in the Kingdom, said he prefers shopping at these stalls due to their proximity to the grand mosques and the lower prices of items as compared to other retailers.
Likewise, Hussein Mohamed, an Iraqi, says the crowded market places in the areas have made him seek out small vendors and stalls who have virtually no waiting time.
Unlicensed fruit and vegetable stalls have continued to attract many pilgrims in Mina, near the Jamrat, and inside Makkah. However, many customers still prefer shopping at the licensed and larger shops for food products due to the higher quality control and better hygienic condition of the items.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has intensified its inspection tours to ensure that commercial establishments are in compliance with the set regulations. The ministry’s inspection teams recently seized and destroyed about 10,000 products and food items which posed a serious health risk to consumers.
The Makkah Municipality has also stepped up measures regarding environmental health by monitoring markets and shops selling food in order to ensure all items meet health requirements. Inspection teams are working to ensure shops are in good condition and offer comprehensive safety measures for workers.
The municipality has formed several regulatory committees to follow up on commercial markets and overcome any irregular activities, in coordination with a number of government agencies including the Committees on Pricing, Water Sanitation, Food Inspection and Poisoning, and others.