Price controls urged for labor drive to succeed

Price controls urged for labor drive to succeed
Updated 14 January 2014

Price controls urged for labor drive to succeed

Price controls urged for labor drive to succeed

The government should not allow businesses to use the shortage of expatriate workers as an excuse to raise prices, said experts and residents here.
They urged the Ministry of Commerce and other government agencies to take action against those manipulating the prices of goods and services. Price controls would ensure more business, investment and job opportunities for Saudis, they say.
Abdulhamid Al-Omari, a citizen, said the government should continue its raids particularly at markets where illegal expatriates are employed. He said hundreds of cover-up and other illegal businesses would close down, creating opportunities for Saudis to open small business, particularly in the telecoms sector currently dominated by expatriates.
Turki Al-Kinani, an economist, called on the Commerce Ministry to intensify its efforts to deport illegal expatriates. He said the ministry was responsible for controlling prices.
He said officials should crack down on retailers who have raised their prices recently because of labor shortages, and for consumers to boycott businesses if prices are too high.
Musleh Al-Zayidi, a property expert, said the inspection campaign would prevent workers from offering their services on an hourly basis, and expose cover-up operators.
He said the campaign would reduce crime and fraud and prevent the remittance of millions of riyals from the Kingdom. He said private company owners would start to employ more Saudis, property prices would go down, and markets and streets would be less congested.
Al-Zayidi said it was the Commerce Ministry’s responsibility to monitor markets, control prices and penalize offenders.
Abdulrahman Al-Ghanimi, a construction industry investor, said the cost of doing business had risen by 15 to 20 percent because of previous changes in the labor market, including the SR2,400 annual fee for each expatriate worker exceeding the government’s Saudization quota. However, the deportation of a million workers has affected the industry.
Abdulaziz Al-Aslani, a citizen, urged the ministry to take action against those raising prices, particularly now that there are fewer expatriate workers. He also called on merchants not to manipulate the market.
He said government agencies should continue their raids because illegal workers were given a chance to rectify their status. He said the government should penalize those trying to sabotage the campaign.