No reaction to prohibitive prices [Archives:2007/1089/Opinion]

September 27 2007

I don't know why the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic haven't shown any reaction to the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs in the local markets and the inhuman exploitation exercised by tradesmen against the rights of consumers. I haven't found even a single justification for the government's remaining silent without any reaction to what is happening inside the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Since the most recent presidential elections, the President and the government has made pledges to give top priority to price hikes. But the foodstuff prices doubled and greediness of tradesmen exacerbated the living standards of the poor and the needy who account for more than two thirds of Yemen's population. The government had nothing to do with skyrocketing prices in the local markets while people remained chanting slogans denouncing the conducts of tradesmen, who exploit news that there are international factors behind prices increases.

Today, after the government quit its responsibility toward its people and left them to fall as prey to greediness under the guise of liberating trade movements, the situation necessitates a great change in the performance of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the General Authority for Specifications, Standards and Quality Control. In addition, the situation necessitates breaking the illicit marital relations between this authority and Consumer Protection Society, which is a non-governmental organization.

As destiny placed Yahya Al-Mutawakil in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, those who know about the man's abilities understood that he was appointed to fill a vacant position and that the suffering of employees at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, for which Al-Mutawakil worked for a while, will accompany the man to the new ministry.

The Minister's office and people inside began to run everything while the general administrations and sectors were emptied from their content. The government employees have received an extra monthly salary on the advent of the Holy Month of Ramadan, but such doesn't have any positive impact on prohibitive prices that exacerbated living standards.

The General Authority for Specifications, Standards and Quality Control only approves that wheat that is still useable because we announce that there are various kinds of wheat in terms of quality and protein rate. A ton of Australian wheat is more expensive than the U.S. wheat and floor which are milled in Arabia Flex Mills in Yemen. The U.S. wheat comes from Pakistan with low prices, compared to other wheat products imported from the U.S. and Australia.

Despite this, we have unified pricelists of all wheat products of different qualities, GASSQC grants quality certificates to importers who cheat, and the Consumer Protection Authority, which is supposed to oversee and examine credibility of these certificates, does something else that is totally different from its expected role.

Source: Al-Nihar Weekly.