Sunday, June 22

PACP Upheaval in Oman: Sunday Blues

The Arabic newspaper have been publishing news about the upheaval with the limitation of  Public Authority of Consumer Protection(PACP) activities, while the news was not featured in Local English newspapers explaining the situation and reinstatement. Social media platforms have been the means in Arabic news in covering the government's recent decision to remove price caps on dozens of products 

"Many social media users have signed an online petition against the decision on June 15 to lift price curbs on dozens of products, with only 23 staple items left under the ambit of PACP. Also, two Twitter hashtags criticising the decision have provoked over 180,000 tweets and retweets" Source


Nanauk that made us recall the years of 2007 and 2010 when severe weather was our villain is long forgotten, after another storm appeared out of nowhere this Sunday

The Council of Ministers decided to limit the role of the Public Authority of Consumer Protection(PACP) to monitor and control prices of 23 items ONLY rather than the array of goods that was once under their jurisdiction. This week has ignited anupheaval that is reminiscent to the days of 2011 when Omani youth desperate about the consumer situationamongst other social issues in Oman stood up and demanded to be listened which spurred into one of the many events defining the Arab Spring in the Middle East

Many took to the streets to vocalize their frustration on the commercial situation and price hikes which  grew to become a burdening ordeal on the average Omani who earned as low as 120 rials; minimum wage back in the day. As a result, on 28thFebruary, PACP came into existence when His Majesty decreed Royal Decree 26/2011. The unrest was quelled, job opportunities were created and the mission of the authority began when it announced the banning of price hikes and stipulated that companies would require approval from PACP to increase prices. Omanis saw this government agency as a savior to their commercial situation and monopoly of traders.
Sunday’s decision has sparked lengthy discussions and disagreements when Omanis realized that what this generation calls necessary goods like electronics, constructions materials and car spare parts aren’t included in the list.  Hence, you can’t head down to PACP to complain about items not included and have to succumb to whatever price you are asked to pay.

During the past 3 years, PACP made headlines whenthey discovered how certain automotive companies sellspare parts at a price hike equaling 1700%, or whenthey red-handedly caught those who fed poison to our children under the name of expired 20 year old sweets and candy, which opened our eyes on the importance ofconsumer rightsUnfortunately, the Council of Ministers decided to overrule PACP’s ban on pricehikes of 2011 by diminishing its role rather than praising their efforts.  The decision was based on astudy conducted by the Chamber of Commerce andIndustry that specified economical and commercial harm on price restrictions in the market. The studyexplained that having price restrictions on all goods would be a breach to the concept of free economy, which leads to the disruption of economic activity and impact all economic and social sectors in the country. The study went on to conclude with a number of negative disadvantages expected from limiting the prices of all goods to include the loss of supply and demand, killing the spirit of innovation and deterioration of the quality of production, in addition to low level of imported goods.

Hashtag Statistics
Omanis, however, aren’t too thrilled with the justification and see it as the council curbing into the demands of influential wealthy traders rather than public interestThe distaste to the decision has fuelled countless public messages of disapproval and disappointment from the duty of the Council of Minister which should reflect wisdom of His Majesty;a  hashtag on twitter that reads ‘I am against the decision and with the reinstatement of PACP’  is the most trending topic which as of the latest twitter statistic has reached to over 90,500 tweets, over 12. 7 million retweets, and an overall outreach of over 110 million accounts. The issue here isn’t Omanis making a big deal out of something that shouldn’t be but more of the fear of going backwards rather than progressing which was the main plea back in 2011.
Youtube Video by OmanTV- General
While Omani economists concur that this is a great step especially with Ramadan just around the corner – since most of the 23 items are edible goods- they agree that without any supplementary laws and regulations,this stand alone decision does more harm than good.Oman’s Consumer Protection Law is the law needed to put rest to the current worries. Majlis Omanrepresented in Majlis Al Shura & Majlis Al Dawlahave discussed and raised their proposed regulationsfor the law to His Majesty for his review and approval,which would give us a clear stipulation of what our rights are, and what we can contest to. So until then, let’s pray and wait for the law to see the daylight soon.

Contributing Blogger: Rumaitha Al Busaidy


  1. hashtag on twitter that reads ‘I am against the decision and with the reinstatement of PACP’ is the most trending topic which as of the latest twitter statistic has reached to over 90,500 tweets, over 12.7 million retweets, and an overall outreach of over 110 million accounts.
    Can you please tell me where you got those numbers from? 110 million accounts? 12.7 million retweets? Where are these stats taken from?
    Thanks :)

  2. Hi OCI, I received the stats from Salma Al Hajri (@Salmaal7ajry) who was live tweeting the results every few hours from last week from her twitter page in Arabic.

  3. Thanks Rummy but those numbers simply don't add up or it's me who don't get what you're saying.
    An example; there are about 650,000,000 million Twitter users globally, and you're saying that about 16.5% of them (110 million accounts) was reached by tweets about the PACP?

  4. To answer your question, yes! Based on the stats I received. I am not an expert on this but have taken it from someone who says to be one.

  5. Rummy- I think Salma Al Hajri may be inflating the numbers by somewhat more than 1700%!

    Do you really think it was retweeted by almost 4 times the population of Oman?

    I think you have swallowed Oman's self-appreciation and overly inflated sense of self-worth a little too often.

    I would go out of your front door and ask the first ten people you meet about the reinstatement status of PACP and see how many of them have a clue what you are talking about. Actually, just ask them what PACP stands for.
    Anyway, 'I am against the decision and with the reinstatement of PACP' is not how it would be hash tagged anyway, it would be '‘IAmAgainstTheDecisionAndWithTheReinstatementOfPACP' which is 52 characters so even if anyone had retweeted it would mean they didn't add anything constructive to the tweet, simply retweeted like a sheep.
    As with anything online, the proof is in the pudding and neither of the above variations found a single result when I searched them in Twitter.
    Stick with playing songs on the radio and keep the thinking to others my dear.

    1. Let’s assume the numbers are inflated....then what?! FYI- the hashtag was a translation.
      Is the question here about the number of times the news item has been retweeted or the relevance of what’s going on with PACP explaining the situation and reinstatement?

      Get real!!! (as stated by a recent twitter comment)

    2. "I am against the decision and with the reinstatement of PACP" was a campaign slogan used for YouTube videos and reflected the hashtag (Arabic) on twitter.

  6. I apologise for the last sentence- it was unnecessarily demeaning and adds nothing to the point of discussion. Please ignore it.

    1. Firstly, you really don't need to apologize to something which you clearly wholeheartedly meant. To answer your comment, I can easily pull aside 10 Omanis and ask them about the issue and they would all have their own two cents and input about the issue. If you read Arabic then you could have easily known how big of a scale this topic has reached to. This just shows how most those reading English newspapers are kept in the dark about major headlines that are occurring in a country they live in. The hashtag as Dalz R stated is a literal translation to English from Arabic. If you are interested you can cehck out the repsone yourself by searching for #ضد_قرار_مجلس_الوزراء_حماية_المستهلك

      And if you really don't quite believe the stats mentioned, as of June 19th the tweets have reached to more than 180k tweets. The following link summarizes all the stats of the hashtag

  7. LOL- so we have gone from 90,500 tweets, over 12.7 million retweets, and an overall outreach of over 110 million accounts, to 180,000 tweets! And to top it all off, only amongst Arabic speakers!
    I just asked the Omanis in my office what their opinions on the reinstatement of PACP were and none of them knew what I was talking about. Most of them are well-educated in western schools/Unis and cross age groups.
    Basically you are trying to push an agenda that you have clearly been negatively affected by and think everyone is of the same opinion.

  8. It is sad that all the comments above are focused on the numbers and not the topic issued above ... People, what Rumaitha did here is simply summarize what's been widely discussed and debated here in Oman for the past couple of weeks, especially that this important issue in hand hasn't been featured in Local English newspapers.

    So, thank you for doing writing this Rumaitha, keep it up .. I don't care how accurate the numbers of the tweets are, I get that the point is to state that the matter has been discussed widely and that the public has been reacting aggressively against the decision.

    As for what I would like to do is, I would like to ask the "Decision-makers" for the study that has been conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I want to understand what is the harm that would be caused by PACP's governance and restrictions? I want proof that explains the reason behind the issuance of this decision.

    Why are the other GCC countries fixing prices of consumable products, why are they putting such restrictions on their markets...aren't they concerned about their "Free Market" as well.

    The timing of this decision isn't right. There are other important laws that have been paused and are being "discussed" for over 3 years .. What is important first, is for the public to know their rights, as in to see it written and approved ... why is this taking too long, I wouldn't know!

  9. Reuters has picked it up:

    1. Rumaitha wasnt just Whistling Dixie

    2. The subject was never in question- just the stats, such as 12.7 million retweets!

      For a little perspective, the most retweeted tweet of all-time was from Ellen DeGeneres and sits around 4 million.

  10. A good move to dismiss PACP from limiting prices, they should control the quality of goods and services to guarantee that consumers get what they pay for. In a free market the price will be sorted out by supply and demand. So if groceries will be too expensive at the moment, new vendors/ stores can be expected in the market which will be followed by a drop in prices.
    It makes no sense for the government to control this.

    1. I agree with you, there is a reason claimed behind the issuance of the decision, that the government's intrusion in controlling prices can negatively affect the economy. But there are other factors the government should address before this decision has been announced.
      What are the consumer's rights, what is the punishments given to those businesses that violate the consumer protection laws? (our current Consumer Protection Law is too old now and is very broad)
      What has the government done to address the huge problem of monopoly in this country?

      When the issues above are dealt with, THEN we can go and limit the PACP authority. After all we can't let the people (who are the consumers) be bullied and fight by themselves. We have to strengthen the people with their rights and give them choices and the ability to choose, then we can come in and put less restrictions on the market.

      As I said it before, the timing was just wrong! and His Majesty - May Allah Bless him - saw that, and thus ordered to postpone the Council of Minister's decision for the time being, until the necessary laws are issued.

  11. I heard about someone who complained to PACP about an issue with a car he bought 2 years ago. The issue was obviously way beyond the responsibility of the car dealer. But the PACP ended up making the dealer pay back the complainant the full purchase price of the car, and ALSO made the finance company cancel the debt. If this is true, then maybe they do need to have their powers limited. And yes, I agree the basket of goods under price protection should not just be arbitrarily declared.

    1. As you said you heard it .. You don't fully know what actually went on.

      The PACP wouldn't force a company to fully pay back for something that hasn't clearly been proven to be wrong, if the consumer had no right to have their money paid back or even get their cars exchanged .. The car dealers wont do it .. There are courts and laws that protects both parties ..
      If I were to be a car dealer and saw that the consumer has no right to demand a new car or a full refund .. I can simply object to the "solution" given to me and simply take the case to court and prove with all documentations I can provide that I have not wronged the consumer ..

      But again, you will always find people who would support your cause and others who just enjoy spreading rumors, I am not saying PACP is perfect, but I am a person who believes in their cause!


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