(MENAFN - Arab News) Nashwa Taher, chairperson of the Trade Committee in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said three proposals will be presented by the chamber to reduce prices of basic commodities, mainly rice, meat and sugar. "All attention will be focused on internal factors with the cooperation of related ministries and government agencies," said Taher, adding that the reduction may range from 15 to 30 percent. "Such internal factors involve the speedy handling of goods transfer which now takes more than five days."
Other factors Taher referred to include updating mechanisms of government subsidies and reconsidering the decision to raise foreign labor fees to SR 2,400.
"All these procedures if implemented are bound to reduce prices for consumers," she said, adding that there are other outside factors that affect the process, "which importers cannot handle easily."
The local market saw an increase in rice prices of more than 8 percent recently. Taher said that a number of factors contributed to this rise, mostly international. "But some companies did take advantage of the situation and manipulate prices to their advantage," she added.
She said regular meetings will be held with decision-makers to ensure the stability of prices. The Kingdom imports more than 1.3 million tons of rice annually. Of this, 80 percent comes from India and the rest from Thailand, the Philippines, the United States, Egypt and Pakistan.