48 violations sent to commercial prosecution following market crackdown

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry could be moving to enforce more control over the retail market following its successful model in implementing strict supervision at the fish market, which helped lower fish prices in general, according to ministry sources.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the sources explained that there is growing belief inside the ministry that its expected future step to ‘Kuwaitize’ auctioneers in the fish market will end what they described as “expatriate auctioneers’ control of the market and manipulation of prices.” The ministry had increased the number of inspectors at the main fish market in Sharq last month in order to supervise the implementation of new regulations that helped curb prices by holding two separate fish auctions; one for vendors and restaurants, and another for regular consumers. The new regulations came in response to wide complaints from consumers who alleged that market auctioneers, who are mostly expats, controlled the market by manipulating prices in favor of merchants and to increase their profits.

Strict supervision
According to the sources, there is a plan already prepared and expected to be submitted to the Cabinet soon for implementing strict supervision on retail markets in Kuwait including clothes, food, transport, and others in order to provide more price control. “Kuwait is an open market, but that does not mean allowing manipulation and price increase,” the sources argued. “There must be decisive measures by the commerce ministry that meet the public’s demands.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry yesterday sent 48 violations to the commercial prosecution following an inspection campaign in Jahra governorate. The campaign covered several stores and found 18 violations for not declaring prices, six violations for not posting a sign for return and exchange, two violation for placing two price labels on one item, four for not having the name of the country of origin on the product, four for selling counterfeit items, one for not having lists of meat products’ countries of origin on the menu, and one for commercial cheating.

Maintenance contracts
In other news, sources at the Ministry of Electricity and Water said the cost of annual maintenance contracts of thermal units nationwide varies between KD 28-30 million, noting that each station has four main permanent maintenance contracts. The maintenance cost of Subbiya, Zour and Shuaiba stations varies between KD 5.5-6 million, while the maintenance cost for Shuwaikh station reaches KD 3 million, they said. These figures do not cover the costs of full maintenance which is done with other contracts, the sources noted, adding that the full maintenance contract of West Doha Station was completed at the cost of KD 70 million for eight steam turbines.

By A Saleh