UAE moves to curb consumer prices

But government says no plan to subsidise prices of some goods

The UAE is on the verge of taking action to curb the prices of some consumer goods in the local market and officials said the price cut would be permanent.

The ministry of economy said it would depress prices by annulling the agencies of those products and consequently ending monopoly in the market.

The ministry has already prepared a list of those products and it will present it to the cabinet shortly for endorsement, a newspaper said on Sunday. “The decision was taken at this week’s meeting in Dubai of the higher committee for the consumers’ protection,” the Arabic language daily 'Al Ittihad' said.

“The committee stressed that this measure is designed to break monopoly of some products, maintain market stability and encourage direct import of those products with the aim of depressing prices.”

The paper quoted minister of economy Sultan Al Mansouri as saying the committee is keen to “create an effective mechanism to cut prices of key consumer products through cooperation with the cooperative societies and other main outlets in the country with the aim of supporting the purchasing ability of consumers and achieving a balance in the local market.”

Mansouri did not specify the list to be presented to the cabinet but the paper quoted another official as saying it includes “essential consumer goods”.

“Some of these goods are foodstuffs and others are not,” said Mohammed Al Shihi, the ministry of economy undersecretary.

“These moves are within a ministry plan to depress prices of those products in a way that will be felt by all consumers permanently not temporarily as is the case these days…on the other hand, the ministry does not intervene directly in subsidising any product and the present measures we intend to take to cut prices will not include any direct subsidy of goods in the market.”

'Al Ittihad' also quoted head of the consumer protection division, Hashim Al Nuaimi, as denying what he called recent reports about a government plan to subsidise basic goods in the UAE market. “The ministry of economy does not offer any financial subsidy for any product in the local market.”
 

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