The government plans to submit nine new draft laws aimed at controlling market prices for discussion in the upcoming session of parliament, Trade and Industry Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid told the Shura Council on Tuesday.
“We cannot control the price of a commodity for which the demand is greater than the supply,” the minister said, ruling out the implementation of obligatory pricing policies on certain goods. “If the government enforces a price of just LE1 for a kilo of tomatoes, tomatoes will disappear from the marketplace.”
Rachid also pointed out that customs duties on foodstuffs had been drastically reduced, even down to zero on some products.
“The food crisis is a global phenomenon,” he stressed. “The United Nations is currently meeting in Rome to specifically address the issue.”
Shura Council speaker Safwat al-Sherif, for his part, called on the government to control trade and encourage competition in order to protect consumers.
“The free market economy requires such mechanisms,” he said.
Al-Sharif also warned consumers against being misled by the claims of dishonest local meat producers that certain imported meat was unfit for human consumption.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.