Industry Minister stresses importance of executive-legislature cooperation in serving citizens

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Manama, Feb. 7 (BNA): Industry and Commerce Minister, Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro, has stressed the importance of the ongoing strong legislature-executive cooperation in serving the citizens.

He asserted that the open debate that took place at the Council of Representatives to discuss rising prices had provided an opportunity to inform the citizens about the most important procedures and steps taken by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to curb prices.

The minister indicated that the current situation in the world has created challenges that affected global supply chains, leading to global inflation and rise in prices.

As a result, he said, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has intensified monitoring and inspection campaigns to ensure the availability of all basic commodities of interest to the citizens.

The competent regulatory authorities at the Ministry also intensified field inspection visits to markets and commercial stores, he said, noting that as many as 11,875 inspection visits had been conducted until January 2023, resulting in taking legal measures against violators, including the closure of 27 stores.

He affirmed that the Ministry will continue its inspection campaigns, stressing that firm and deterrent measures will be taken against violators.

He indicated that in line with the directives of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, to the concerned government authorities to develop urgent plans and procedures to stabilise prices and ensure the availability of commodities, the Industry and Commerce Ministry has taken the following measures:

1-Implementation of an action plan to intensify inspection campaigns and field to ensure that there is no manipulation of commodity and product prices, commercial fraud, or the existence of incorrect offers and discounts and any other illegal manifestations. If any violations are detected, immediate legal action is taken.

2-Temporary suspension of industrial land fees for food storage facilities for three months (which are considered part of the supply chains).

3- Temporary suspension of approvals and fees required by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce for supermarkets to run promotional campaigns for three months.

He added that HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister had issued directives to the concerned authorities and the Ministry of Social Development to disburse an additional month of financial support for low-income families to account for global inflation.

The Industry and Commerce Minister stressed that Bahrain's economy is part of the global economic system, which is characterised by freedom of supply and demand, abundance and diversity in commodities and consumer products, which are affected by multiple global factors, the most important of which are the cost of operation, transportation, freight, import, insurance and seasonal conditions, as well as accidents, and natural disasters.

He pointed out that global prices are declining gradually, as indicated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which said that as the global price index for food commodities decreased in January by 17.9% compared to March 2022.

He added that the global trend will be reflected positively at the local level, as the prices of local commodities will drop, noting that prices of some basic commodities are in fact declining and stabilizing as a result of the monitoring and inspection visits and campaigns.

The Industry and Commerce Minister affirmed that the kingdom has sufficient stocks of basic food commodities, in line with the government's keenness to continue securing the strategic stock and ensuring the availability and diversity of food commodities.