Food prices are rising daily … and the increase has exceeded 100 percent!

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Enas Shari wrote in the “Middle East”:
The question about the price of any food commodity in grocery stores in Lebanon is always added to the phrase “today”. The price is likely to rise daily as long as the dollar exchange rate is constantly changing, until the consumer is in a race against time, trying to buy what he can buy today for fear of the high price of tomorrow, especially as the price rise is offset by the stability in the salaries that lose their value day after day.

The head of the Consumer Protection Association, Zuhair Pro, says that “food prices rose according to the last increase monitored (consumer protection), that is, two months ago by 72 percent.” But even this already high percentage rose recently, “most food prices increased by more than 100 percent. The hundred in the last two weeks. ”

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Pro said that the price increase was evident despite the presence of a food basket supported by the Ministry of Economy, adding that “the price drop was observed only in Egyptian sugar and rice,” but in general the repercussions of the food basket were “almost non-existent or At least unnoticed, “because” grocery store owners complain that the subsidized goods do not reach them.

Some owners of the small grocery stores that we have come to confirm that the subsidized materials are not available at the merchants or are available in small quantities that are not enough for consumers, and they complain about their inability to buy goods in large quantities because they cannot be sold at the daily exchange rate of the dollar, at a time when they cannot sell at the price On the basis of which they bought because they would lose part of the capital, and they would not be able to purchase new goods.

The reason for the rise in prices is due to two main factors, said the head of the food importers union, Hani Bohsali. The first of them is the presence of goods on the market that were imported before the support decision, and therefore are sold on the basis of the daily exchange rate and change continuously.

Bohsali considered that many importers “did not submit import orders because the conditions are very harsh; Including the payment of the price of the goods to the supplier company, and then placing a guarantee in the bank for the value of these goods in Lebanese pounds, adding: “Not all merchants have enough money to pay for the goods twice, even for a period, because ultimately the payment will of course be one time.” He assured me of having “the continued availability of basic foodstuffs in the market”, ruling out the stoppage of imports “as long as the dollar is available,” noting that “the quantities of imports, especially for non-basic foodstuffs, have decreased significantly in the recent period; This is for two reasons: the dollar shortage and the decline in purchasing power, as many traders stopped importing non-essential food items, because their price has become very high with the rise of the dollar.

He asserted that I have empty shelves in some stores, or that some stores resort to temporary closing, which has nothing to do with the scarcity of materials, but rather due to the citizens’ rush to buy food for fear of the high price, in addition to some traders stopping to deliver some goods for a short period, given Because they can no longer price their goods in light of the rapid rise of the dollar, especially during the past two weeks ».

Faced with this reality, the Ministry of Economy announced the expansion of the subsidized food basket to include more than 200 commodities, but that “it will not benefit the citizens”, according to Pro, “rather it will benefit some big traders to reach less than 10 percent of the support to consumers.”

In a tour of «Middle East» on some food stores, to compare the prices of some commodities since last October, it turned out that the price of a kilo of Egyptian rice rose from two thousand pounds to 8 thousand and the price of a kilo of bulgur from two thousand pounds to 7 thousand, while the price of a box increased Vegetable oil (5 liters) from 17 thousand pounds to 50 thousand, while the price of flour, bread and sugar doubled, and a carton of milk from 400 grams increased in price from 5 thousand pounds to 16 thousand.

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