Under rules dating back to 2011, retailers and traders needed to ask the
Under new rules announced last week, permission will still need to be sought to increase prices of essential items such as rice, tea and fish, state news agency ONA said. Other goods will no longer need approval, though the authority will continue monitoring all prices for any suspicious rises to prevent monopolistic behaviour.
In an unusual public furor over government policy in the absolute monarchy ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said, hashtags objecting to the reform drew tens of thousands of tweets. One showed a picture of a man pierced by a screw with the word "consumer" written on his trousers.
"We admit that we made a mistake by not preparing the public for this decision," Commerce Minister
Despite the public dismay, economists said the reform was unlikely to boost inflation much, partly because companies knew the threat of government action against "monopolistic" behaviour remained.
"I do not expect a significant impact on the cost of living," said Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist at
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