Inspection raids

Inspection raids


By Alia Al-Shalhoub

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment has been conducting intensive campaigns to control commercial fraud and remove counterfeit goods in local markets. We see the frequent reports of the ministry about its achievements and viral videos that expose the exploitation and manipulation by a large number of traders who import expired or counterfeit products from abroad.

With these campaigns some shops have closed their shops for fear of sanctions, confiscation of goods and arrest of illegal workers.

This is not the first time I am writing about this important topic. I have been repeatedly asked to write about the ongoing deprivation of the rights of citizens because of the officials in charge do not deal with this problem radically to find a permanent solution.

What happens before and during the month of Ramadan, specifically cheating by selling unfit products, calls for harsher penalties and stricter regulations to curb this greed and abuse through such manipulation.

The Ministry of Commerce and the Consumer Protection Association, which unfortunately came into the picture a bit late, have a very important responsibility in order to save the markets and citizens who both suffer from the abuse and exploitation by some traders.

We have been told about a series of raids on these traders and manipulators. But how were they allowed to tamper with the health of the citizen in the first place? How much time did they spend in these heinous acts? Who compensates the naive citizen who falls victim to these unethical violations that harm his health and wealth?

We have four concerned authorities that are in charge of supervision, and none has moved an inch. It is true that we appreciate the delayed action to protect consumers, but we are also concerned about a lack of control and follow-up.

We are asking for increased and intensified campaigns, but at the same time we demand more sanctions and defamation of these perpetrators. They must be prevented from practicing trade permanently.

The protection of the markets is our responsibility.

Figures support this since the national economy has lost more than SR40 billion because of commercial fraud, and the volume of counterfeit goods in the local markets rose by 340 times in nine years.

We look forward with enthusiasm and hope that a change in the leadership of these supervisory sectors would be a starting point to find a radical solution to this phenomenon. We hope the leadership would ensure the safety of people and products through increased inspection campaigns, the development of protectionist measures in all commercial outlets, the use of electronic control systems and imposition of harsher penalties on violators.