The UAE will fix the prices of 1,650 basic commodities until the end of 2012 after the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) reached an agreement with 320 outlets and cooperative societies, the ministry of economy said in a statement.
“This is an annual initiative as last year the department fixed prices of 800 items and it posted the prices on the CPD’s website to allow customers to inspect them if overcharged,” CPD said.
“The department has reached a deal with the concerned parties to cooperate to prevent any price manipulation by closely monitoring sale of meat, vegetables, fish and chicken at all major retail outlets,” CPD said.
Minister of Economy, Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, announced in May 2012 that the CPD has taken an initiative to fix prices of 15 commodities at prices ranging from 70-180. “Outlet and retailers will have the option to customise the Ramadan basket with 15 items,” Al Mansouri said.
CPD has announced that its inspectors will visit supermarkets all over the country to ensure they are complying with the new prices with the aim to provide strategic commodities in the coming era at reasonable prices.
Dr. Hashim Al Nuaimi, CPD’s director, said earlier that he had an extensive meeting with fish traders in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to determine the fish prices during Ramadan.
Al Nuaimi also urged the concerned parties to host lectures and seminars at school, universities and colleges to educate people about the benefits of rationing consumption. The ministry had received until end of May about 4,295 complaints by consumers.
No’man Ashour, UAE based chief economist, told the Gulf News: “There should be an awareness campaign to educate customers against price manipulation and hoarding of food during Ramadan.”
“In Ramadan, consumption among Arab and muslim families increase by 20-30 percent and this has forced the UAE government to reach this agreement with the major outlets,” clarified Ashour. He advised customers not to rush and make irrational purchases while fasting.
“Since commodities are available at all major outlets, there is no need to hoard or to rush purchases at any time of the year as this will affect the supply and demand formula,” said Ashour. The ministry has warned suppliers they will face legal action if prices of basic foodstuffs are hiked. “This move aims to prevent any monopoly and price manipulation that would affect customers because it is commonly known that during Ramadan, spending on basic food items increases,” said Ashour.