Saudi Arabia: 30%-40% hike in Foodstuff and taxi fares

RIYADH/JEDDAH/DAMMAM — The prices of foodstuff, vegetables and fruits have gone up remarkably so have taxi fares with the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) and hike in fuel prices.

Mohammed Al-Johani, deputy chairman of the Committee on Foodstuff at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), expects a 30%-40% increase in the prices of fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

He said it is extremely difficult to monitor the prices of fruits and vegetables because they do not carry price tags.

Johani said retail shops were making 25% to 30% profit on fruits and vegetables before the introduction of VAT. Now their profit will margin will go up, he added.

Mutassim Abu Zinadah, chairman of the traders of fruits and vegetables, warned that some retail shops may attempt to hike prices following the introduction of VAT and increase in fuel prices.

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“There was a difference of about 20% in the prices of fruits and vegetables in the central market and retail shops before the introduction of VAT,” he said, adding, “Now the difference may go up to 30% after VAT.”

Family budget is being drained out not only by hike in the prices of foodstuff but also by increased transportation fares, private school tuition fees and school bus charges.

Saeed Al-Bassami, head of the national transport committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers and the land transport committee at JCCI, told Al-Madina Arabic newspaper the hike in fuel prices will affect transportation fares.

Abdullah Al-Asmari, a taxi driver, said trips costing SR35 now cost SR45 or even SR60.

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Careem smart application car company announced an increase in fares from Wednesday, Makkah Arabic daily quoted the company’s co-founder and CEO in the Kingdom Abdullah Elyas as saying.

“We are increasing our prices in the light of the new fuel prices which were increased by between 82.66% and 126.66%,” he said.

“Our captains now have to face the high prices of fuel and the newly-introduced VAT,” he said.

Siraj Al-Harithy, a former member of the transport committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), told Makkah Arabic daily that the entire transport sector will be affected by the new fuel prices.

“If smart app car companies did not increase their fares, they will lose and so will their captains,” he added.

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