House panel recommends ways to rein in recent hike on basic commodities prices

House panel recommends ways to rein in recent hike on basic commodities prices
25 March 2021
Ammon News - The Lower House Economic and Investment Committee recommended to zero tax on all basic commodities, ensure a year-sufficient stock to achieve food security, slash prices in cooperation between the public and private sectors, and reduce energy costs for the foodstuff production.

During a meeting held on Sunday, attended by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Maha Al-Ali, the committee has also recommended a discussion to go over the price spike in basic food commodities (sugar, rice and oil), monitor markets, and prevent monopoly.

Speaking during the meeting, its head, MP Khaled Abu Hassan, said the committee will submit its recommendations to the House Speaker to send them to the Prime Minister to address the issue, noting that the House's role is based on protecting the consumer and reducing prices.

Abu Hassan added that the meeting came to find out the reasons behind the recent price rise in some foodstuffs, "which concerns all citizens, as the consumer has a basic right to buy commodity of high quality by an acceptable price."

The MP stressed the need to protect the consumer, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic-induced repercussions on the citizen.

For her part, Al-Ali said the ministry is monitoring the prices of 135 commodities daily, and the "strategic" stock of 9 basic commodities is also monitored, noting that Jordan's reservoir of food commodities is sufficient for "safe and secure" periods, as goods that are not locally manufactured are continually imported.

Al-Ali said nine commodities saw a price drop, while the price of 104 items remained stable, and 9 others witnessed an hike, adding that items sold at a higher cost locally have risen globally and are not procuded in Jordan.

The minister said the rise began last year, as a result of increased demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the countries of origin have imposed additional fees on raw materials for those commodities, which caused an spike in prices globally.

Noting the gov't mechanism to rein in price surge, Al Ali said the ministry monitors prices locally, and if commodities are sold at a high price locally, price ceiling is set.

The minister emphasized the government's keenness to provide commodities and ensure their low consumer price, noting that concerned authorities seek to do so by providing goods in the civil and military institutions, which are open to the public.

Continuing: Prices will not rise during the coming period, and this helps to achieve stability in the local market.

For his part, the ministry's Secretary-General, Youssef Shamali, said prices since 2012 have not witnessed a global rise as is in 2020, adding that Jordan's strategic commodity reservoir was sufficient for a longer period, so global rises were not directly reflected.