To keep popular food items affordable during Ramadan, which starts next week, Qatar’s government has ordered price caps on more than 400 items of goods starting today.
All shops and stores throughout the country are required by law to sell the items at the prices fixed by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) for the run-up to and the duration of the holy month, which will start around June 7 and will end approximately July 6.
This is to “alleviate the burden” on consumers and prevent them from being over-charged at this time of year, the MEC said in a statement yesterday announcing the prices.
A full list of those goods and their prices can be found here. In addition to the Ramadan staples such a Vimto, dates, nuts and dried fruits, it also includes fresh and frozen meat and poultry; canned fruit and preserves; mineral water; pasta; rice; dairy products; frozen vegetables; cake and dessert mixes and juices.
Commonly used household products such as some hand soaps, foil and tissues also feature on the list.
Ministry inspectors will increase their spot-checks on stores to ensure they are complying. Any shops found violating the rules will be referred to the “competent authorities to take appropriate action against him in order to protect the rights of consumers,” the MEC warned.
Generally, the government prices for the included items are around 10 percent less than their usual cost.
This is the sixth year that the government has set maximum prices for basic food and non-food goods during Ramadan, which is a time when Muslim families cook large meals to share with relatives, friends and neighbors, as well as those in need.
For the last two years, the government list of included items has been similar, and has grown from the 320 goods that were price-capped in 2013.
Last week, the MEC also announced that it would be importing 30,000 live sheep from Arab countries, which Qatari families can buy at a subsidized cost for Ramadan.
Starting from June 2 and running throughout the holy month, some 20,000 Syrian sheep and 10,000 sheep from Jordan will be sold for QR950 and QR850, respectively.
Each Qatari is eligible to buy two sheep, which can be purchased from the Central Market or other Widam-run slaughter house, with proof of ID, the ministry said.
There is an additional QR16 cost for slaughtering the animal and QR34 for portering fees.
In addition to the government-mandated fixed prices for key items, some supermarkets also run their own special offers during the Holy month.
Al Meera last week announced the start of its Ramadan season by offering 1,437 products at cost-price to customers, in celebration of the Islamic year 1437.
The price cuts will take place in 35 of its supermarket branches as well as its Geant hypermarket in Hyatt Plaza mall.
Black stickers featuring an arrow and the words “at cost price” will be fixed to shelves to advise customers of the affected goods.
Smaller Al Meera branches will offer discounts on as many of their goods as possible, the supermarket chain said.
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