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Almost All Bakeries Closed in Tripoli, Syndicate Boss Blames Exchange Rate Measures.

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Tripoli, 17 January 2021(Lana) Most bakeries in the Libyan capital Tripoli are closed following new rules imposed by the municipal authorities and the Food Control Centre over the making and selling of bread, which obliged the bakers to sell bread in line with previous prices or shut the bakeries. crowds appeared in front of the few bakeries which remained opened amid acute shortages of bread. The Head of the General Bakeries Syndicate Abu Khrais Mohamed told the Libyan news agency the prices of flour were climbing, reaching LD 210 for a kantar '100 kilos', while the Syndicate was always sticking with the prices set by the Ministry of Economy, which ranged between LD 138-145, indicating that the new exchange rate has made it difficult to open letters of credit, which in turn deprived bakers of sustainable flour stock. He said bakers have taken a good step by continuing to sell bread by same previous prices for two or three weeks, to allow the authorities a chance to reach radical solutions, holding the Municipal Authorities and the Food Control Centre fully responsible for closing the bakeries, and forcing owners to sell by the prices set by the Ministry of Economy. Abu Khreis expressed concern over implications of the bread crisis, calling on responsible bodies to provide support for the bakers; by re-activating the Price Stabilizing Fund, so that flour can be provided and black market speculation prevented. Lana correspondents have noted that almost all bakeries in Greater Tripoli were closed, while others spiked the prices to one dinar for three loafs, citing higher flour prices. GNA Acting Minister of Economy Farj Abu Mtari discussed Thursday with the Head of the Bakers Syndicate Abu Khrais Mohamed work at the bakeries and flour availability. He stressed the importance of abiding by the Minister of Economy decision regarding regulations of bread making and prices, which he said should be followed by law-enforcement bodies. Meanwhile, the head of Flour Mill Company said the company had nothing to do with the rise of bread prices, indicating that it did not take any measures that might lead to bread price hikes, and that if there was one, it was proportionate and by no means could lead to an increase in the bread prices. The Tripoli Municipality warned bakers that it would, in coordination with the Municipal Authority, follow up the execution of the Ministry of Economy decisions regarding controls of making and selling of bread, indicating that legal action would be taken against violators. =Lana=