Saudi Commerce Ministry to apply $266,119 fines for price manipulation

The ministry regularly inspect groceries to ensure that there is sufficient stock for Ramadan shopping

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Dates are displayed at the popular market of Qabil street in the heart of Jeddah historic center on December 9, 2015 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The street which is one of the oldest business streets that dates back to early days of 20th century, got its name from the Qabil family that owned land originally. Image for illustrative purposes only.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Dates are displayed at the popular market of Qabil street in the heart of Jeddah historic center on December 9, 2015 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The street which is one of the oldest business streets that dates back to early days of 20th century, got its name from the Qabil family that owned land originally. Image for illustrative purposes only.

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JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment announced on Thursday a fine of up to SR1 million ($266,119) for traders attempting commercial fraud.

The ministry’s spokesman, Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, encouraged the public to continue reporting cases of commercial fraud, with rewards of up to 25 percent of the paid fine. He added that reports of commercial cover-ups will be rewarded with 30 percent of the paid fine.

The ministry said it will apply listed penalties for organizations attempting to take advantage of the current situation, including a SR10 million fine to merchants who hide goods to imply a shortage in products to undermine competition.

Al-Hussein said that the ministry had recently completed 73,000 inspection trips to check stock availability and reassured the public that sufficient stock is available for Ramadan grocery shopping.

During these inspection rounds, 7,000 fines were given to institutes that did not follow regulations, with fines for jacking up the prices of products starting from SR1,000 to SR50,000.

The ministry constantly monitors 116 products electronically and conducts site visits to check their quality and prices.

Al-Hussein warned people against overstocking food and encouraged moderate consumption as food waste reached 30 percent. “Always remember, what you buy in excess could be someone else’s necessity,” he said.

The spokesman added that in order to protect young people, those under the age of 15 have been prohibited from entering stores and hypermarkets.

Meanwhile, a total of 518 new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were recorded in the Kingdom on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in Saudi Arabia to 6,380 people. There are now 5,307 active cases with 71 in critical care.

Ministry of Health spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly announced 59 new recovered cases, taking the total number of recoveries to 990, while four new deaths had been reported, raising the death toll to 83.

The latest losses were all expats between the ages of 35 to 89, two from Makkah, one from Madinah and one from Jeddah. All had chronic health conditions.

Al-Aly advised Saudi and non-Saudi families to ensure their children continue receiving immunization vaccinations to help boost their immune systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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