Shoppers are complaining the prices of Eid sweets have gone up by around 60 percent compared to last year.
In the run-up to Eid Al-Fitr, many families have flocked to the stores to buy a long list of Eid necessities such as clothes and sweets.
Abdullah Ba Salam, a citizen, said shopping malls stock their shelves with luxurious varieties of sweets to lure shoppers.
He noted that a number of stalls in the historic area of downtown Jeddah were successful in grabbing the attention of shoppers through the use of beautiful Ramadan decorations.
He said monitoring bodies have a great role to play in controlling prices, forcing shops and stalls to abide by set prices and prevent any price manipulations.
Saudi shoppers Mohammad al-Shehri and Faris al-Shaikhi were pleased with the stalls offering a wide variety of Eid sweets but complained of rising prices that they believed were unjustified.
Al-Shehri added that Eid sweets are a source of joy and happiness for children and adults alike.
He noted there is no justification for shops to increase their prices to these high levels and said businesses should take into consideration the financial situation of many families who cannot afford such high charges.
“Shops should price Eid sweets reasonably to allow people from all segments of society to buy them and celebrate the occasion,” he said.
Meanwhile, unlicensed street vendors selling sweets have increased their presence in Jazan’s traditional markets and major streets, raising the ire of citizens who have demanded that the concerned authorities specify areas where street vendors can sell sweets.
Citizens also said vendors should have to apply for licenses so authorities can monitor prices and the quality of sweets displayed for sale to the public, Al-Watan daily reported.
Mustafa Amin, manager of a store selling sweets in Ahad al-Masarha, said there has been an increase in the prices of sweets by 60 percent. He expects prices to continue to rise further during the last two days of Ramadan before Eid due to the huge demand for sweets.
Sulaiman Turabah, owner of a street stall, said there has been a flurry of activity at stalls during the last 10 days of Ramadan as consumers purchase sweets for the Eid feast.
Turabah said there has been an 80 percent increase in sales.
Muhammad Mahzari said there is no justification for the increase in prices. Mahzari said people with limited income resort to purchasing sweets from street vendors despite the fact that some of the sweet are unfit for human consumption. He questioned the role of the supervisory authorities in protecting the rights of consumers.
A number of citizens expressed discontent at the spread of unlicensed street vendors in markets and on the streets as they also disrupt traffic.
The acting spokesman of Jazan Municipality, Adulrahman al-Absi, said teams have been assigned to work during the Eid Al-Fitr holidays to monitor stalls and ensure that street vendors do not sell sweets unfit for human consumption.
“Any quantities of sweets that are unfit for human consumption will be confiscated,” he warned.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.