Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Expatriates express anger over price hikes

Sara Mustafa
Staff Writer

KUWAIT: A group of expatriates have expressed their anger with the current hike of prices in consumer goods and family supplies, noting that the government promises regarding stopping the hike of prices before Ramadan have not been fulfilled. Many expatriates expected that the international financial crisis would lead to pushing officials to search for ways to create a balance between their salaries and the prices of goods, but are disappointed that the government has not taken steps to do so.
Mohammed Hashim, a Jordanian expatriate living in Kuwait for ten years, noted that in most of the countries all over the world price hikes appear in certain occasions, in contrast with Kuwait, which witnesses continuous prices hikes.
"Some sellers make use of Ramadan to increase the prices of their goods with the absence of censorship from the Ministry of Commerce. Strict legal punishments should be approved to prevent greedy businessmen who increase their prices at every openining without logic or reason,'''' continued Hashim.
Hashim noted that the main problem within the price hikes is that they include staple goods such as meat, vegetables and medicine.
For her part, Fatima Hassan, an Egyptian housewife, urged the government to set a plan that secures essential goods at reasonable prices that suits both citizens and expatriates.
"Five years ago there was a reasonable increase in prices, but now we are astonished at the prices, which increase almost every day. I think that local media should play a positive role in this regard, thus they should spotlight the suffering of expatriates because of the increase in prices. Some people have suggested that the cooperative societies should be turned into shared government companies to facilitate the task of the State to control prices," explained Hassan.
Hassan assured that some immoral practices conducted by consumers has also contributed in escalating the problem, including hoarding unimportant goods to make them rare to find and raising the price.
Finally, Mahdi Ali, an Iranian expatriate, noted that he is not able to balance between the different requirements of his family, which includes medical care, education, food and entertainment.
"The international financial crisis was supposed to push officials to search for ways to make a balance between salaries and prices. In the 1980s and 1970s people used to consider working in the Gulf countries as an immediate means of improving their financial income, but now I think the image has been changed," asserted Ali.
Ali noted that for the first time it easy to find beggars wandering the streets, an obvious indicator that conditions in the Gulf countries has changed.

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