The Ministry of Economy (MoE) has confirmed the continuation of its periodic monitoring of the 300 most sought-after basic commodities in the markets, in partnership with the economic departments and regulatory authorities at the local and federal levels, through a weekly follow-up by the relevant work teams.
More than 40 outlets and cooperative societies in all markets in the country are being regularly monitored to keep the prices of these goods in check.
The Ministry explained that these 300 commodities belong to 11 main categories: fish and seafood, meat and poultry, bread, grains and related products, dairy, eggs, oils, vegetables and fruits, water, juices, and cleaning materials.
The Ministry assessed the extent to which these items are affected by various international developments and price fluctuations in their countries of origin. It also monitored steep fluctuations in prices and ensured the availability of these commodities in abundant quantities to meet the needs of consumers and maintain the strategic stock of essential commodities.
MoE added that it continues to compare the selling prices of these commodities with their prices in its registered database and with the prices in neighbouring countries. In addition, it is working to develop a shared digital database for commodity prices in GCC markets to ensure flexible, fast and continuous price comparisons. The Ministry also added that it matches the prices of these commodities with the FAO International Price Index for the most traded commodities in the world.
Furthermore, MoE explained that, based on these extended monitoring efforts and close follow-up on the market movement, it had approved a new policy regarding the pricing mechanism for basic consumer goods.
Under this mechanism, these goods are divided into two main groups: the first is subject to the condition of prior approval if the supplier desires to raise its price due to the high import costs. In this case, they are required to apply for approval via the Ministry of Economy website through a specifically designated system for this service. The applicants must submit all evidence and data related to the increase in costs and their direct causes. The Ministry then will decide on the approval and the percentage of the approved price hike.
This group includes more than 11,000 commodities including fresh and dry milk, fresh chicken and eggs, bread, flour, sugar, salt, rice and legumes, cooking oil, mineral water and others.
As for the second category of goods, the MoE clarified that this category is exempted from the need for prior approval and that they are subject to supply and demand variations. It explained that these goods were chosen based on their abundance, high price competitiveness, and a large number of suppliers of these goods to ensure the existence of multiple alternatives in the country.
This guarantees the stability of their prices according to market mechanisms. This group includes a limited category of goods, most notably: biscuits, chocolates, confectionaries of all kinds, some cheese products, frozen food products, juices and ice cream, tea, coffee, cocoa and its products, wheat, oats, potato chips, and household cleaning materials and tools of all kinds.
The Ministry lauded the fruitful cooperation between various government entities and local and federal departments, highlighting the importance of partnership with suppliers and sales outlets in establishing best consumer practices as per the UAE’s consumer protection law.
Price control is an ongoing process, and any unjustified price hike is a violation, which exposes its owner to legal consequences, the Ministry added.