No intention of increasing prices of essential items, says ministry

No intention of increasing prices of essential items, says ministry

The recent 13 per cent price increase for eggs and poultry products applies only to those supplied by nine UAE producers, a Ministry of Economy official said.

Authorities on Sunday said they were allowing a temporary price increase for those food products following a request from companies that had reported significant rises in costs.

As consumers in the UAE took to social media platforms to express their disappointment about the increase just before the start of Ramadan, the ministry said the approval was not for all producers supplying eggs and chicken to the market.

There are many poultry firms that didn’t increase their prices and consumers can choose from different brands

Abdullah Al Shamsi, Ministry of Economy

But Abdullah Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary for the Monitoring and Following Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, said: “We have no intention of increasing prices of essential items.

“We want to ensure that no unjustified price hikes are applied by suppliers and strengthen mechanisms to counter monopoly practices.

“We were cautious about the order to approve the increase but these firms submitted a request with reports about significant rises in the price of fodder, shipping and overall production expenses.

“There are many poultry firms that didn’t increase their prices and consumers can choose from different brands.”

Speaking at a media briefing on consumer protection on Thursday, he said inspectors had visited the markets this week and noticed many poultry firms had not increased their prices.

“The request was submitted by these nine firms to the ministry for approval more than 18 months ago,” Mr Al Shamsi said. “We carried out some studies and analysis before we approved the changes.

“Should the grounds that gave rise to the resolution cease to exist, the resolution itself would cease to exist, considering the changes in the local, regional and global marketplaces.”

He said the prices would be revised after six months.

“The UAE ensures consumer rights and carries out necessary market monitoring efforts to ensure market stability and the right balance between the interests of both merchants and consumers,” he said.

The government imposes price controls on essential items including cooking oil, eggs, dairy, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread and wheat.

Supermarkets must get permission from the ministry to charge more than the amount set by the authorities for the essential items.

He said UAE market had a wide range of firms and brands that allows consumers to choose a product that suits their needs and budget, and enables them to switch brands when there are price changes.

The ministry has had 26 meetings with basic commodity suppliers so far this year to ensure sufficient stocks of basic commodities meet consumer needs during Ramadan.

“We held meetings with the fruit and vegetables committee in Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” Mr Al Shamsi said.

“Daily consumption of fruit and vegetables in the Dubai market is 19,000 tonnes, while in Abu Dhabi it is 6,000 tonnes. The stock of fruit and vegetables currently available in the country amounts to 143,000 tonnes.”

The ministry conducted 94,123 inspections in markets last year and recorded 4,227 rule breaches.

Nearly 8,170 inspections carried out this year resulted in 1,030 breaches, mainly for not displaying price tags and the quality of products.

People can file complaints and report commercial malpractice by calling 8001222.

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