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Consumers Weep, Middlemen Reap

Tehran Times Opinion Column (photos by Ali Moayedian)

TEHRAN, Sept. 10 (Mehr News Agency) -- Officials and other citizens are all in agreement that Iran's system of delivering goods to consumers is flawed in many ways.

Middlemen are taking advantage of the system. For example, farmers sell watermelons for about 700 rials (about 7 U.S. cents) per kilo but by the time it gets to the consumer, it ends up at least four times more expensive.

This system has made the Iranian market a paradise for middlemen, who gain the maximum profit from the least effort and pay the lowest rate of taxes and sometimes even use loopholes to avoid taxation altogether.

Producers and farmers say, "We do all the work but the middlemen make most of the profits."

Although the drought affecting large areas of the country and the global trend of skyrocketing food prices have been cited as causes for the dramatic rise in the price of food in Iran, the fact that goods pass through the hands of many middlemen before reaching the consumer is a more plausible explanation.

This trend has discouraged entrepreneurs from investing in job-creating activities, to the detriment of the common man.

In response to the situation, the Commerce Ministry and the municipalities have built shopping centers, but they charge such high rents for shops that the commodities are still quite expensive.

To decrease the economic burden on consumers, especially lower-income households, and to end the shenanigans of the middlemen, who are reaping mega-profits, the Commerce Ministry must take immediate action to rectify this flawed system.

... Payvand News - 09/12/08 ... --

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