Pricing differs between one shop and another… absent control mechanism in Idlib
Enab Baladi – Idlib
The residents in Idlib province suffer from a difference and a rise in the prices of commodities and goods in shops and medicines in pharmacies, amid tough living conditions limiting their purchasing power.
Through its program, “What is Your Problem?” Enab Baladi surveyed people’s views in Idlib on the disparity in commodities and medicines’ prices. It discussed with some shop owners the reasons for the absence of standard pricing.
Enab Baladi met with an official in the ministry of economy of the “Syrian Salvation Government (SSG)” in Idlib to discuss the governmental role in unifying prices, protecting consumers, and setting plans to monitor the process of regulating pricing.
The same medicine sold at two different prices
The disparity of pricing is noticeable in grocery stores, vegetables selling shops, and pharmacies, according to Mazen Dahnoun, one of the survey participants who appeared in the program.
Dahnoun mentioned that he wanted to buy a medicine that was sold in one of the pharmacies at the price of 24 Turkish liras (TL), while in another pharmacy, adjacent to the former one, the same medicine was sold at 15 TL (1 TL = 290 Syrian Pounds (SYP).
He said to Enab Baladi that the shop owners respond with unsatisfying answers when asked about this price difference. They attribute the reason for the decline in the Turkish lira’s value, or they blame the wholesalers.
As for Salman Saleh Hajj Latouf, a grocery store owner in Idlib city, the pricing disparity between the stores is due to two factors. The first factor is the different marketing methods, as the marketing of goods may be better in a wholesale store than in another.
According to Latouf, the second factor is when shopkeepers lower the price of a product approaching its expiration date, while other store owners could be placing a higher profit rate on their goods.
Latouf believes that wholesalers should standardize prices so that the retail stores can use unified prices afterward.
Zuhair Latouf, an owner of a vegetables and fruit shop in Idlib city, said that vegetables and fruits cannot be compared to the rest of the products, and their prices cannot be unified like the packaged products at grocery stores.
He added fruits and vegetables come in different qualities, the excellent, the good, the mid and low quality, and each quality has its price.
The SSG supports price standardization within its capabilities
The director of public relations at the ministry of economy and resources of the SSG in Idlib, Mohammed Daboul, said to Enab Baladi that the SSG divided the ration materials into four sections, the most important of which is a strategic section that is essential like bread, fuel, human medicine, and a basic section such as bread, rice, tea, and vegetables.
He added, the ministry of economy and resources of the SSG has set standardized pricing for bread and fuel, while the health ministry has placed pricing for human medications.
Daboul confirmed to Enab Baladi that all the mentioned ration materials are monitored by the ministry of economy, through the “directorate of supply.”
According to Daboul, the directorate conducts six patrols daily on bakeries, markets, “halal” markets, fuel stations, and places for weighing goods. He added that the control of supply materials includes all economic and commercial activity.
Moreover, Daboul thinks that it is difficult to put a standardized price for all commodities, as there are imported products whose prices are subject to the US dollar exchange rate, besides locally produced goods made with imported materials.
According to Daboul, the supply directorate does many things to protect the consumer and control the overall commercial activity, including monitoring the manufactured products in terms of quality specifications and validity period.
He added, the directorate is also responsible for alerting traders if there are any business violations and making violation reports when the offense is repeated.
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