BEIRUT — Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan and Economy Minister Amin Salam, accompanied by members of State Security and ministry monitors, issued fines during an inspection of wholesalers in Beirut’s vegetable market, in the Tariq al-Jadideh area, on Thursday in response to complaints from citizens about “exorbitant prices,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• “There are traders who have a conscience and traders who don’t,” Salam said, commenting on the discrepancies in prices between different wholesalers identified during the inspection. Traders whose prices were “obscenely expensive” but who could not account for them through invoices were fined. “There are fines reaching LL40 million and imprisonment,” Salam added.
• The ministers also met with a number of retailers and citizens who complained of “chaotic” pricing. Salam said that there was an “unprecedented increase in prices” and that the Economy Ministry had received “thousands of complaints.”
• Hajj Hassan said that “daily” inspections “to curtail the chaos in markets” could be expected and that it was the “Ministry of Agriculture’s role to go after corrupt traders wherever they are.”