The consumer market in Morocco has recently seen price increases of a wide range of products as the Kingdom is in the midst of an election campaign.
The Moroccan is no longer found there and between respect for the principle of freedom of prices and competition on the one hand, and the protection of consumers’ pockets which resurfaces is the story of a heart which oscillates. However, data obtained by MoroccoLatestNews indicate that a significant number of foodstuffs, in the domain of the daily citizen, have undergone dizzying increases.
Dizzying and significant, they take advantage of a given situation to slyly display at 25 to 50% as is the case for “Smida” semolina, the price of which has increased by 3.5 dirhams, from 7 to 10. , 5 dirhams per kg and the price of pastries, meanwhile, fell from 1.70 dirhams to two dirhams per kilogram. Starchy side, lentils saw their price increase by 3.5 dirhams, going from 12 dirhams to 15 and a half dirhams. The price of a kilogram of tea is not to be outdone with an increase of 7%. This surge or all in power so to speak, of several foodstuffs had also affected edible oil, which had already experienced significant increases only a few weeks ago, which triggered a wave of anger among citizens, while the wholesale price per liter fell from 12 dirhams to 16 dirhams.
According to article 2 of the law 104.12 The prices of goods, products and services are determined by free competition, with the exception of goods, products and services, the list of which is fixed by regulatory text after opinion of the Council of the competetion.
Although the law on freedom of prices and competition increases prices without caps, this economic option chosen by Morocco remains positive, according to Bouazza El Kharrati, a consumer advocate at the Competition Council and president of the Association. Moroccan Consumer Protection and Guidance (AMPOC), the oldest body in the consumer movement;
For him, ” the the problem is with companies agreeing to set the prices they want. THECitizens complain with each increase in consumer prices of the lack of control by the competent authorities. However, the latter can only control this freedom in the light of the texts provided for by law and the commitment to make known the sale price ”.
El Kharrati considered that the adoption of freedom of prices and competition, implemented since 2000, is “A good economic approach, but it is not acceptable that the increases in a certain number of consumer prices take place in given periods as currently when the Moroccan concerns are the electoral campaign “.
For his part, Issa Achout, secretary general of the National Union of Traders and Professionals in Rabat, indicated that “ successive price increases require intervention by the authorities. This will have the effect of preventing companies from agreeing on the price of their products.
Achout further pointed out, in his statement to MoroccoLatestNews, that there is another problem that contributes to the rise in prices, and that it relates to the limited companies authorized to import consumer goods from abroad. This allows them to apply the prices they want, in the absence of any competition ”. He therefore called for opening the way to import companies and helping them overcome the obstacles they encounter, in order to maintain competition, and therefore price stability.
Furthermore, in accordance with Article 4 of the Law on Prices and Competition, the administration may, after consultation with the Competition Council, take provisional measures against an excessive rise or fall in prices justified by exceptional circumstances, a general disaster or manifestly unusual market situation in a particular industry, without increase. The period of application of the aforementioned measures is six months, renewable once.
In order to get around the problem of agreements between top traders and other actors in the distribution chain regarding price increases, the president of the Consumer Protection Association indicated that the Ministry of the Economy and Finance , through its Governance and Competition Department, has the powers to conduct an investigation to apprehend offenders.
Management has a means of identifying companies that violate competition rules in order to standardize prices. While the law allows price freedom and competition, Moroccan citizens suffer not only from high prices for consumer goods, but also high prices for regulated services, such as road transport for travelers.
In this context, Bouazza El Kharrati said that most of the companies that own buses that carry passengers between cities have doubled the price of transport, in the name of reducing the number of passengers under the restrictive measures.