Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy; and Yousif Ali, Chairman of Lulu Hypermarket Group; have today (Sunday, April 06, 2008) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Ministry of Economy (MoE) in Dubai, in a move that will see Lulu Hypermarket implement the first phase of a program to preserve the 2007 prices of more than 32 basic food goods throughout 2008.
The move, which aims to stabilize prices, alleviate inflation, maintain market balance, and protect consumers, completes a number of recent initiatives jointly conducted by the Ministry in collaboration with Cooperative Societies; in line with the MoE’s call to fix the prices of basic food products at cost prices.
Commenting on the MoU, Al Mansouri praised Lulu Hypermarket Group for being the first private sector company in the country to implement the program. “The initiative by Lulu Hypermarket to fix the prices of 32 food commodities emphasizes the vital role that the private sector can play in contributing to price stability, maintaining market equilibrium and contributing effectively to the development of society and the national economy,” Al Mansouri said.
He also highlighted how the initiative underscored the social responsibility of the UAE’s private sector, under the directives and leadership of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; who both acknowledge the role of the private and public sectors in advancing the country’s social and economic progress.
He added that the Ministry will continue to work in collaboration with other bodies to control monopoly, exploitation, and other threats to market stability; noting that this was not the responsibility of the MoE alone, but a joint responsibility in which federal and local efforts integrate to eliminate any negative practices that may affect the consumer, society and the national economy.
Al Mansouri also called for stronger cooperation between the public and private sectors in the country to address rising prices, particularly of basic commodities, which he noted is an international phenomenon not limited to the UAE.
Under the terms of the MoU, Lulu Hypermarket will fix the prices of 32 basic food commodities at 2007 prices, which will apply to various types of rice, sugar, oil, flour, tea, butter, salt, milk and its products, tomato paste, legumes, chicken, meat, cheese, egg, macaroni, water and bread.
Yousif Ali, Chairman of Lulu Hypermarket Group, commented that the Group responded quickly to the MoE’s initiative based on its conviction about the importance of such programs to eliminate any negative practices that threaten free competition in the UAE. He further encouraged the private sector in the UAE to not focus solely on profits, pointing out the danger of inflation for both the society and the economy.
The MoU with Lulu Hypermarket Group comes only weeks after the MoE signed a similar agreement with the Union Cooperative Society in Dubai to preserve the 2007 prices of 16 basic food commodities. Other cooperative societies responded to the MoE’s request to sell many of their goods at cost prices within the efforts to control price rises and curb inflation.
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