Minister of Industry reject the increase of wheat flour prices [Archives:2007/1074/Local News]

August 6 2007

Ismail Al-Ghabri
SANA'A, Aug 2 ) The Minister of Industry, Yahya Al-Mutawakel, confirmed that the government is currently studying the requirements of establishing mills to be used as a strategic reserve to save flour and wheat. He also stressed the importance of fighting the price hikes for these two foodstuffs.

The Minister also pointed out that the establishment of mills is a strategic demand aiming at stabilizing prices. He added that his Ministry is considering every means and mechanisms regarding procuring flour and wheat as well as producing them for the sake of achieving the principle of encouraging competition as well as preventing monopoly. The Ministry is working hard on using mechanisms and structuring a good infrastructure to double import basic foodstuffs that principally serve the consumers, he emphasized.

On the other hand, he admitted that monopoly process of the commodities is a point of weakness before the Ministry that seeks to coordinate between generating policy of free market economy and accomplishing price stability. He also emphasized the necessity of exerting more efforts to fight monopoly process in coordination with the local authority.

He went on to say that the infatuation of prices is due to the supply and demand, indicating the state's role consist in enhancing the competition spirit and preventing monopoly as well as interfering in providing commodities and insuring the price stability.

However, the Minister stressed the importance of cooperation between the government and the private sector in this regard. The private sector is a fundamental aspect that can not be ignored in the market, he elaborated.

Moreover, he pinpointed that the adaptation of the article 28 of the commercial law regarding opening the space for non-Yemenis to work in trading and importing sector should be effective.

The Minister also declared that the decision which obligates bakeries to sell loafs by weights will be in action. Further, he pinpointed that the responsibility of applying this decision lies upon the local authorities in the capital secretariat as well as in the other governorates. These councils can report to the representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as to its offices in the governorates so as to take legal action against the violators, he stressed.

He also said that the Ministry is concerned about protecting citizens, indicating that his Ministry has confirmed, during the meeting of food assembly, recently held, that it will decrease the price of wheat and flour, asserting the lack of justification of rising prices.

Worth-noting, the Minister revealed that the State Treasury has lost roughly YR 7 billion in 2006, which is attributed to the manipulation of cement brokers due to the existing infringements in the sales mechanisms in the three public factories.

The Ministry is going to put an end for these infringements through building competent administration that can economically deal with the reality and competently face the dilemma, he maintained.

The problem of Amran factory has created paucity in the supplied cements leading to a black market, which dominated the sale process. The brokers are who get advantages from this process, he asserted.

Additionally, the Minister said that the government has agreed upon restructuring the cement establishment aiming at developing the selling process according to market's mechanisms and improving the production process as well as creating a modern sophisticated administration.

Furthermore, he indicated that the difference between factory prices and market prices is unacceptable. “The Ministry has decided to stop this imbalance as soon as possible” he asserted.