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Omani body wants price cap on food items

Muscat, March 9, 2008

The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proposing that food suppliers control price rises by introducing ceilings on the cost of nine basic food items, the body's chairman said on Sunday.

Oman inflation accelerated for a seventh straight month in January to 8.29 per cent, its highest in at least 16 years, as the Gulf-state's weaker dollar-pegged rial drove food costs by 14.4 per cent.

Food suppliers and distributors should put ceilings on the cost of rice, wheat flour, sugar, lentils, cooking oil, tea, milk powder, evaporated milk and ghee, said Khalil bin Abdullah Al Khonji after a meeting with suppliers and distributors.

'The idea is to cater to the needs of the lower middle class and those sections of society for whom the slightest price can cause a major dent in their budget,' Khonji said.

The chamber had set up a team of food supply retailers and wholesalers to devise a way of implementing the plan, which could help reduce prices, Khonji said.

The dollar hit record lows against the euro and a basket of major currencies last week.  Like other Gulf states, except Kuwait, Oman's dollar peg forces it to track US monetary policy when the Federal Reserve is slashing interest rates to ward off recession.-Reuters




Tags: Oman | Food | prices | ceiling |

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