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22 percent never check expiry date of products; Citizens Resort to Cheap Commodities

  Written By: Moneer Al-Omari (YEMEN POST STAFF)
  Article Date:
September 22, 2008



Amidst the waves of increase in food prices, Yemenis, especially the poor and limited-income citizens, face difficulties in covering the needs of their family members. However, Ramadan bonuses and incentives could help lessen the burden of supporters.

According to a recent survey, there has been increased expenditure for family during the blessed month of Ramadan and most families resorted to their savings or bonuses of Ramadan granted by President to state employees.

This bonus was given to state employees first in 2006 timed with the presidential and local elections. By then, every state employee was granted a bonus equal to his salary and recently there have been disagreement over the amount of money that should be given to every employee.

It was announced that this year's bonus will be YR 40,000 for all state employees regardless of their posts and ranks; however, the sum was reduced to YR 25,000, causing employee frustration.

The survey, conducted by the Economic Information and Studies Center with over 400 families, indicated that spending of 50 percent of the surveyed families do increase markedly during Ramadan.

However, the study never referred to the Eid period where families spend more money on buying clothes for their children and visiting relatives. More money will be spent on buying meat, especially during the Al-Adha Eid as every family supporter should buy a head of cattle or share others.

The study further disclosed that 15 percent of surveyed families are forced to sell their personal property to meet Ramadan's increasing needs; other families resort to advance money to cover for their expenditures during Ramadan.

Likewise, 23 percent of family supporters relied on Ramadan's bonus and other extra wages received in Ramadan to meet the needs of their families; while 22 percent of family supporters relied on their saved money.

Seeking to know the consumptive and purchasing habits of Yemeni families during Ramadan, the survey pointed out that 46 percent of families allocate no individual budget for Ramadan. In return, 54 percent of families allocate budgets mounting to YR 40, 000 (some $200) and 44 percent spend over YR 40,000.

As for the type of commodities bought by citizens, the survey mentioned that about 81 percent of families resort to street vendors in search for cheap commodities.

When 49 percent of consumers sometimes care about and check expiry date, 29 percent of respondents noted that are keen about checking manufacture and expiry dates, while, 22 percent give no attention to these dates and never check.

Meanwhile, Yemeni families started to show interest in companies' discounts offered during the blessed month of Ramadan; however, most cast doubts about these discounts and seems unsatisfied with them.

Over 50 percent of families revealed that they follow the offers and discounts of companies and supermarkets during Ramadan while 29 percent hinted that they don't always follow such discounts and 20 percent were uninterested. When 20 percent see that these discounts are real, 57 percent seem to be unsatisfied about the creditability of these discounts.   

Hani Abul Wahed, who was coming from a nearby supermarket, was angry and revealed that what these supermarkets announce in their advertisements are inauthentic, hinting that if they charge you less for one commodity they will add it up to other commodities.

Abdul Wahed further mentioned that he will never return to these supermarkets and will buy from nearby stores, even if he is required to buy at a bit higher price, adding that he hated himself during the first day of Ramadan when he was, in addition to the over-crowdedness, forced to line up for about one hour to pay for his purchased commodities.

Again, the report stated that supermarkets came in first place as for the best places of shopping. Over 45 percent of respondents indicated that they buy their needs from supermarkets, against 13 percent of families who buy from grand malls. Another 11 percent of families buy from wholesalers.

Respondents also revealed that there had been increased improvement in government's control over expired and adulterated commodities in the market as 25 percent said that it plays a big role, while 37 percent believe that they played a moderate role and the same percentage believe that state control authorities play no role at all.