Shoppers will be able to see the prices of products before they buy them when nearly 800 items with stable prices are published online by the ministry of economy in line with an agreement with major shopping outlets.
The ministry said it would begin publishing detailed prices of those consumer items from next week along with nearly 300 cooperative societies, hypermarkets and other key shopping outlets across the UAE.
The list that will go online includes all those consumer items whose prices have been stabilized until the end of 2011 under an agreement signed between the ministry of economy and major dealers.
The agreement took effect on July 1 and all dealers have pledged to keep prices of those products unchanged until the end of the year.
“This move is designed to strengthen the principle of transparency and create tools that will give the public access to all initiatives aimed at curbing any increase in the prices of local consumer items,” said Hashem Al Nuaimi, director of the consumer protection division at the ministry of economy.
He said the items to be published online include rice, sugar, flour, cooking oil, poultry, break, mineral water, dairy products and many other items.
He said the ministry would soon start sending inspectors to key shopping outlets to ensure compliance with the price-fixing initiative.
“We have also agreed with all those shopping outlets that they display lists of those products, especially during Ramadan,” he said, adding that dealers include all co-op societies, Carrefour and Lulu hypermarkets, which account for more than 80 per cent of the local consumer market.
The Dh200-million price-stabilizing initiative undertaken by the ministry of economy is the first of its kind in the Arab world.
Officials said the initiative mans that the prices of more than 800 key consumer items will remain unchanged through 2011 no matter what direction these prices takes worldwide.
“This initiative is the largest to be taken by the UAE concerning consumer prices…it will cost us around Dh200 million and is meant to stabilize the market and protect domestic consumers,” Nuaimi said early this month.
“We have already informed all major shopping outlets not to raise the prices of these products until the end of the year and to make sure there will be enough supplies for the consumers…the items included in this initiative account for at least 50 per cent of the needs of consumers.”