Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), alongside other government and private sector establishments are working in tandem to ensure availability of sufficient stocks of staple foodstuffs and consumer commodities in shopping outlets across...
Photo credit: ONA
According to ONA, additional stocks of foodstuffs and consumer items are regularly pouring into the Sultanate via air, sea, and land checkpoints, said officials, confirming that no shortage of such goods has been reported anywhere in the Sultanate’s markets.
The ONA report also states that factories and commercial outlets are operating in full-swing as they continue to tap plentiful stocks, with officials affirming an existing elaborate program of direct imports is being carried out in accordance with specific, well-studied plans aimed to ensure a high level of supply that rises to the expectations of the market.
Commenting on this, Salayum bin Ali al-Hikmani, Member of the Majlis A’Shura and Head of the Majlis’s Economic and Financial Committee, said that, according to the 2019 Global Food Security Index, the Sultanate occupies the 46th place internationally, and the 5th place in the Arab world when it comes to food security.
Photo credit: ONA
Referring to a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserve on the availability of sufficient stocks, al-Hikmani said that the issue solicits no concerns and reaffirmed that the existing stocks will achieve food balance price stability.
He pointed out that the Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council approved financial credits needed by the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserve to address coronavirus developments. He added that many government and private establishments are working on the production of food and commodity supplies.
Speaking about prices, al-Hikmani said that, by comparing the prices of staple foodstuffs such as rice, sugar, barley and wheat, in the first quarter of last year, globally it was observed that the prices of sugar, wheat, and barley remained relatively stable, while the price of rice went up slightly to touch $400 per ton, according to data of the International Grains Council and International Sugar Organization.
Al-Hikmani called upon owners of commercial outlets to implement modern payment and delivery applications and enhance technology localization’s contribution to financial solvency.
The Majlis’s committee urges owners of shopping outlets to ensure the non-transfer of coronavirus among consumers.
Mubarak bin Mohammed al-Dohani, Director-General of Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that the MoCI recently formed a working team tasked with tackling the developments of coronavirus under the leadership of Eng. Ahmed bin Hassan al-Dheeb, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Photo credit: ONA
The working team will look into the economic impacts of coronavirus developments and take necessary steps to provide foodstuffs requirements via border outlets, while working in coordination with the concerned government departments and private sector establishments.
Al-Dohani reaffirmed that there is a constant monitoring of the availability of foodstuffs and basic commodities and has warned against the stockpiling of foodstuffs, since this is not justified, and has asked consumers to rationalize their spending.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ahmed Abdulkareem al-Hooti, Member of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and Head of OCCI’s Economic Committee, said that competent government departments and private sector parties have exerted great efforts to secure the basic needs of society amid the backdrop of the current coronavirus pandemic, noting that large storage areas have been made available in all governorates of the Sultanate to help accommodate more stocks in the forthcoming period.
Al-Hooti stressed that commendable efforts are currently underway to also advise shoppers about how to use sterilizers. He also called upon merchants to make prices affordable to consumers and avoid exploiting the pandemic as an excuse to raise prices.
Last week, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Al Raffd Fund, and the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Riyada) launched an initiative codenamed “Shop-From-Home#” via Twitter, following precautionary measures undertaken by the Supreme COVID-19 Control Committee.
The initiative seeks to encourage shoppers and shopping outlets to use electronic applications to promote social distancing as a measure to curb the spread of the contagion.
The Ministry calls upon firms specialized in home delivery to respond to this initiative and provide their services online.
(Also read: Coronavirus: Oman Air issues cargo flight to India for import of fruits and vegetables.)
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