The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy has said it will not approve price increase for any of food commodities from Thursday until the end of Ramadan, Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy told Gulf News warning against price rise and manipulation.
Two months ahead from Ramadan, the ministry has started its price control campaign in cooperation with outlets and retailers across the UAE.
“The supreme committee of consumer protection in the UAE will not approve any request from retailers to increase the price of any of food items, even if there is surge in demand or an increase in the cost of raw materials in the local or global market,” said Al Nuaimi.
“All attempts to increase prices will be considered a violation of the consumer protection law and retailers should bear the consequences. The ministry will take it seriously.”
The ministry will maintain a strict watch over the market to raise awareness and keep the prices stable, he said.
However, Al Nuaimi said that they reached an agreement with over 20 outlets across the UAE to discount the prices of over 200 commodities by 30 per cent during Ramadan.
Ten of these outlets are in Dubai while the rest in other emirates and these items include basic food commodities.
“Prices of staple foods such as rice, flour, meat, tea, bottled water and pasta, as well as household goods such as washing liquid, are at the top of the list.”
Outlets joining the ministry’s initiative include Carrefour, Cooperative Societies, Lulu Hypermarket and Spinneys.
He also remarked: “The Ministry is seeking to extend the process of decreasing prices to more products by the beginning of Ramadan.”
“Convincing retailers to discount or put a cap on prices of certain products was a hard task. Some of them agreed to lower their prices to wholesale level while some accepted to bear the loss and discount their commodities further, but some retailers could not,” Al Nuaimi said.
The ministry is communicating with retail outlets and consumers on a regular basis to be prepared for any variable that may affect prices and market stability during Ramadan, he added.
Last year, over 360 retailers across UAE have agreed to freeze prices of 1,600 selected commodities and have accepted to bear the costs involved in the effort, which the ministry has estimated at Dh60 million (N2.5b).
Al Nuaimi remarked that the Ministry is discussing with the outlets to increase the number of these commodities ahead of Ramadan.