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Report Examines Food Price Drivers During Pandemic Print

The Competition Commission has said that of the 1,600 complaints received under the excessive pricing and consumer protection regulations by the end of June 2020, 307 (or 19%) related to basic food products in retail stores.

According to the Commission, food constitutes 30% of low-income household expenditure and is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, so containing price inflation is a priority during the crisis.

Earlier this week, the Commission released a report on food price monitoring, culminating from its efforts on enforcement aimed at containing excessive pricing and price gouging on essential food items, in addition to face masks and hand sanitisers, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Commission found that the lack of liquidity in smaller fresh produce markets makes them vulnerable to larger price movements and possible manipulation by agents. "This resulted in advocacy to ensure compliance with the regulations across all fresh produce markets nationally," the Commission said.

The Commission also found that some food suppliers and retailers were prone to increasing prices based on higher cost announcements but before the higher cost stock reached their shelves. Through enforcement of the regulations and advocacy with the larger food suppliers, the Commission has sought to eliminate this practice.

SANHA Comments:
Islām as a complete way of life guides us in business ethics. Allāh’s Messenger (salutations and peace be upon him) has beautifully summarised the ethics of Islām as follows:

لا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
“None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”
 [ʾal-Bukhārī: 13, narrated by ʾAnas, may Allah be pleased with him]

Moreover Islāmic law includes transactional law. It is compulsory for every believer to learn those laws pertaining to his or her interactions. Islāmic transactional law is particularly sensitive in regards basic commodities such as food, and also encompasses agency, both of which have been mentioned in the above news item.

Complying with the laws of Islām leads to peace amongst society and salvation in the hereafter.
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