City residents have reiterated their demand for further intervention by the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and municipal authorities to check the reported overpricing of some essential edible items.
This is mostly visible in smaller neighbourhood stores, whose operators blame a section of distributors and suppliers for such price hikes.
"We request the authorities to further intensify their efforts against such practices. The price hikes are not only inappropriate in view of the ongoing blockade, but also a violation of directives issued on prices of essential items during the holy month," said a resident.
Some local retailers told Gulf Times that within 24 hours after the announcement of the blockade by some of Qatar's neighbours, a few distributors hiked the prices of some essential food items.
For instance, the prices of rice, grams and even eggs were increased by some of the suppliers and as a result their retail prices have gone up at a number of outlets.
Gulf Times had reported on Friday that the prices of some of varieties of Indian rice had shot up by 25-30% in shops run by their stockists in the Vegetable Market area. Similarly, a tray of 30 eggs, which used to be available at retail outlets for QR13-14, is now being sold for QR17-18 in some places.
Some retailers alleged that such a hike in prices was the result of "hoarding by a few suppliers". For instance, they claimed, a company that supplies beverages and food items to local groceries increased the rates the day the blockade came into effect.
However, some consumers questioned the version of the grocery operators. "The prices are not high at all groceries. So, blaming the suppliers alone may not be enough - some of the grocers could also be involved in such practices," said one of them.
Saudi firms asking personnel to proceed on leave
Some Saudi Arabia-headquartered companies supplying food and consumer goods are sending their staff on leave as their operations have been hit by the ongoing closure of the land border with Qatar, according to sources.
Interactions with sources in the retail sector reveal that these companies, which supply dairy, poultry and other food products to Qatar, have reportedly given the instruction as no diary and poultry items are coming from Saudi Arabia and the representatives of such firms have little to do at present.
The staff are clueless as to when they would be able to resume operations in the local market, the sources add.
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