Campaign against unchecked price hikes in Saudi during Ramadan
Saudi consumers are seeing sharp hikes in food prices as they shop for Ramadan, which begins August 1
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A grass roots campaign against shops that raise prices during Ramadan will be launched all over the Kingdom on the first day of the fasting month, the initiative’s organizers announced on Tuesday.
They said they would launch their campaigns under the slogan "Think of the Poor" and would target all merchants including food traders, realtors, car dealers and others.
The organizers said they would be connecting with each other through social networking tools including Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry and mobile phones.
There will be a spokesman for the campaign, which will have many sub-committees.
The organizers did not explain the sanctions against violating traders but said they would publish the names of the companies, establishments and shops that unjustifiably raise their prices during the holy month.
Abdul Aziz Al-Wattar of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) said the campaign would be very useful in revealing to citizens and expatriates where prices have been raised.
He said the campaign would be supported by other organizations including the Consumer Protection Society to check prices during the fasting month.
Mohsen Al-Muhtadi, director of marketing at a supermarket in Jeddah, said hiking prices during Ramadan has become a normal practice for almost all retailers.
He said companies importing foodstuffs would often justify price rises by pointing to high prices of raw materials in international markets, the rising costs of storage and distribution in addition to the salaries of employees.
Al-Muhtadi said some of these reasons were valid, but artificially hiking prices could never be justified.