Oman


Public Authority for Consumer Protection chief warns against undue increase in prices



Muscat: Dr Said bin Khamis Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP), told the Times of Oman that the authority along with other relevant bodies will intensify efforts to ensure that the prices of goods and other services do not rise without a valid reason.

The decision followed the Royal directives to standardise the grades and salaries of the employees at various units, organisations and establishments of the civil sector with effect from January 1, 2014.

A new decision issued by the authority banned any move to increase the prices of goods, commodities and services without the approval of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection.

Such an approval can only be made after convincing reasons are put forward for the increase.

Al Kaabi added that the authority has the data of prices of thousands of goods and commodities of the past period, and any increase without the approval of the PACP will be considered a blatant violation.

Many people have been penalised for tampering with the prices in the past.

"The Public Authority for Consumer Protection will strongly exercise control by increasing inspection visits, checking out shops and markets to ensure that everything goes as per the law," Al Kaabi said.

Al Kaabi stressed that the authority encourages citizens and residents to report any violations to its call centre, website or through cellphone apps.
The authority called upon all suppliers and traders to abide by the new rules and regulations and not increase the prices of goods and commodities to avoid being held legally accountable.

Meanwhile, Al Kaabi met with Attorney General Hussain Al Hilalai to discuss ways to ensure consumer protection and scope for Public Prosecution.
The meeting was also aimed at ensuring that the local market continues to function normally, and the community is spared of any practices that contravene with the law.

On his part, the attorney-general has issued a judicial circular to all departments of the Public Prosecution to accord consumer protection high importance while dealing with issues regarding public prosecution.

Husain Al Hilali also said that Article 295 of the Omani Penal Code would be applied to bring to book anyone trying to defraud the consumers through fraudulent increase in prices of goods or food stuff or committing any action that would impact the supply and demand situation.

Both, the attorney-general and the chairman of the Public Authority for Consumer Protection, called for the need to exercise self control and recognise the national obligation not to tamper with the prices and to report any violations.

Al Kaabi said that the Public Authority for Consumer Protection is fully equipped to detect any violation of the norms regarding price rise.

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