Tunis — The first Cabinet Meeting of the new Government, which met on Friday under the chairmanship of Interim Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, focused on price rise and took several decisions targeting production, supply, economic and health control and fight against smuggling.
A presentation on the causes of the average price rises and measures decided to curb them was made during the cabinet meeting, Minister in charge of Economic Issues Ridha Saidi indicated.
The cabinet meeting reviewed the activity of the national price control committee, the results scored at the level of supply of domestic market in basic food products and the activity of economic and health control teams as well as the efforts deployed to face up to smuggling, a Prime Ministry press release reads.
At the level of production and supply, the Cabinet meeting decided to increase the production of sensitive farm produce, guarantee the supply of markets in local products and resort to importation if necessary.
It as also decided to establish a programme to create a buffer stock under 2013 in potatoes (40,000 tons), milk (50 million litres including 12 million liters of technical stocks and 38 million litres of buffer stocks), eggs (60 million units), broiler meat (2,000 tons) and turkey meat (1,500 tons).
Measures decided also involve the import of 6,000 tons of potatoes (3,000 tons are fixed purchases and 3,000 optional).
The aim is to cover the needs in this commodity during the spring season.
The government will also import 9,000 bred heifers, implement a programme to encourage farmers to purchase these heifers and extend the network of direct-to-consumer sale points in all regions, in collaboration with the different stakeholders in the sector (producers, traders, associations).
The measures also involve directing the subsidy system to household consumption through the adoption of a specific package for some products such as milk, sugar, soybean oil, liquefied gas cylinders...
The Cabinet meeting also called on the ministries of trade, agriculture and industry to consider setting, in co-ordination with inter-professional groups and regions concerned, the ceiling price of many consumer products such as fruit and vegetables, meat, cleaning products and supplies.
These prices will be announced within ten days, according to the Prime Ministry statement.
With regard to economic and health control, the meeting decided to step up joint economic and health control operations, intensify regional campaigns to monitor supply chains and ensure transparency of transactions in wholesale and retail markets on a daily basis.
The Prime Ministry statement said emphasis will also placed on products of sectors that are facing difficulties, chains that are experiencing abuses and monopoly practices by planning sectoral control of production, storage and distribution chains, in addition to stepping up the control of the movement of concerned goods on roads.
Among the measures decided Friday by the Cabinet meeting, the fight against anarchic sale points, organisation of an awareness campaign to urge compliance with law and speeding up the examination of issues related to economic offences, in addition to the implementation of decisions of shutting illegal shops.
The meeting also stressed the need to strengthen the role of the municipal police and leverage the experience and human resources made available to it to enhance control efforts.
The role of regional price control committees will also be activated and their activities will be carried out under the supervision of governors in co-ordination with the concerned departments.
With regard to the fight against smuggling, measures provide for strengthening human and financial resources made available to structures tasked with combating this phenomenon at the levels of border crossings and patrols.
The Cabinet highlighted the need to intensify control both qualitatively and quantitatively in borders and border check points. It urged for more rigour in enforcing law and addressing cases of smuggling and attacks against police and customers officers and their premises and opt for zero tolerance against offenders.
Among the measures cited by the press statement, strengthening co-ordination between local authorities and Algerian and Libyan authorities to combat smuggling.
Emphasis was also placed on the need to enhance co-ordination with national organisations and professionals groups and involve all active political sides, the media, the civil society and citizens in the fight against rising prices, smuggling and speculation in addition to contributing to the rationalisation of consumption.