Ramadhan food prices investigated in Kirkuk
The District Governor of Kirkuk is to investigate the increased prices and lower quality of dry food in the city after complaints from local people.
Ako Sheikh Bzeni, a Kirkuk resident, says one week before Ramadhan the price of dry food gets higher while bad and low quality food becomes more common.
“Shopkeepers and traders act at odds.” he said . “ They should have decreased the prices in this month while providing high quality food since people are fasting.”
Sheikh Bzeni is waiting for the prices to decrease but to no avail.
“The price is increasing every day. With the feast getting closer the prices get higher.”
Bahra Omer is shopping every day.
“Before Ramadhan, I was very pleased to hear that Kirkuk officials had a ‘concrete plan’ to control the price fluctuation in Kirkuk, but in reality they had no role .”
According to Omer, the price is too high for poor people and they cannot buy their necessities.
“Poor people are searching for cheap goods, but the goods are mostly bad or expired.” Some of the prices are twice as high as before Ramadhan, “ he said.
What do traders and shopkeepers say?
Traders and shopkeepers do not deny the price increase in Kirkuk, but they deny selling any bad or low quality goods. Ahmed Ali, a shopkeeper, says some of the prices are higher while some of them are the same.
“In the past, the cost of everything was getting higher, but this year oil, sugar and tea have remained the same price (as before Ramadhan),” he said.
However the price for some goods has got higher because the demand is increasing.
“The price of a kilo of chicken meat has increased from 4250 Iraqi Dinars to 5500, and it increases even more with the feast getting closer,” Ali says.
It’s not only chicken meat but animal meat has also increased by one thousand IDs, and nuts by 500 IDs.
Another reason is the value of the USD, as shopkeepers increase their prices when the USD goes up.
Some people are criticizing the monopoly practices. Ali Gayan, a tradesman , says some traders from Baghdad, supported by politicians, have controlled the Kirkuk bazaar.
“They fill their stores before Ramadhan and sell their goods with higher prices to the shopkeepers in Ramadhan. “ he said.
Kirkuk officials say their investigation continues through the price change time and they will punish those who are selling bad goods. Kamil Salaiyie, District Governor of Kirkuk , says they have formed a committee to look into the price changes.
But contrary to what people and tradesmen allege, Salaiyie claims prices have not changed that much.
“There was a rumor of high prices in the past days but after investigation it was revealed it was that much.”
He says they are cooperating with health teams to find expired and bad goods.
“We have confiscated two thousand 500 tons of expired food in August and punished the owners. Others were also questioned.”
Karwan Salhi – Kirkuk Now