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Price hike raises Iraqi demands of forming consumer protection authority

consumer protection authority

The Iraqis have started to demand the formation of the consumer protection authority, in light of the continuous rise in prices, commercial manipulation, speculation and monopoly.

Commodity prices are witnessing an unprecedented rise, as a result of the rise in the costs of imports and production inputs, among others.

Iraqis accuse the Ministry of Industry and Minerals of being slow in addressing all these problems. They stressed the need to “combat this phenomenon, which urgently needs the formation of a consumer protection authority.”

The Ministry of Industry and Minerals said it “worked through many correspondences to expedite the formation of the consumer protection council, to take its real role in combating industrial fraud.”

Meanwhile, Iraq is lagging behind in terms of consumer protection compared to many countries in the Arab region. Successive governments since the US invasion of the country in 2003 did not think of launching a device that takes care of this aspect.

Iraq has laws that deter anyone who practices commercial manipulation and combat industrial fraud, directly or indirectly. This  includes the Law for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment issued in 2009.

There are also the Consumer Protection Law issued in 2010, and the Law of the Iraqi Accreditation Authority issued in 2017. But they seem to be insufficient.

Rising prices

The prices of foodstuffs and basic commodities have also witnessed a significant increase during the past months in the country. The rise is due inflation in imported goods prices, as a result of the price boiling in global markets. This strained citizens’ budgets and changed their priorities in terms of spending.

While the government of Mustafa Al-Kazemi took timid measures to control prices, economists attributed this phenomenon to the fluctuation of the dollar exchange rate against the dinar, as well as other factors related to production and random import.

Last May, the government formed three joint committees from the Ministry of Commerce, represented by National Security, the Organized Crime Department, and the Commercial Control Department, to follow up on the local market and carry out inspection tours in order to educate about the process of rising prices and its causes.

Economic expert Qusai Safwan stressed that the process of following up on materials prices needs coordination between the Ministry of Commerce and the Department of Economic Security in the Interior, to curb price manipulation, especially at the level of wholesale and retail sales.

Meanwhile, he stressed that it is necessary to increase transparency in selling prices and not to monopolize goods in the market, with the possibility of giving support to the official markets, which can reduce prices.

Iraq is lagging behind in protecting consumers compared to many countries in the Arab region, as successive governments since the US invasion of the country have not considered launching a device that takes care of this aspect.

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