The prices of 20 basic commodities will be reduced by 10 to 20 per cent from March 1, according to an agreement signed yesterday between the Ministry of Economy (MoE) and leading outlets in the UAE.
The commodities include rice, milk, powdered milk, sugar, oil, red and white meat, and various kinds of vegetables and fruits.
The MoE held a meeting chaired by Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of its Consumer Protection Department, with the leading retail outlets in the country, such as Carrefour, LuLu Hypermarkets, Union Co-operative Society and Spinneys, along with the Secretariat General of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, representatives of economic departments, the Abu Dhabi Food Control Body and the Ministry of Health, to discuss the mechanisms of reducing prices starting from the first of March.
Dr Al Nuaimi said the MoE is looking forward to reducing the prices of as many commodities as possible. There will also be a second phase in the MoE's plan to reduce rates, which will start from April 1.
He said prices had not decreased over the last few months because the outlets had to clear their inventory of goods bought earlier at higher prices. "These stocks were purchased at high prices and they are about to run out now. Retail outlets will start selling at reduced prices as they have now bought the commodities from their countries of origin at the lower prices prevailing currently," Al Nuaimi said.
He said the MoE and supermarkets will together launch an awareness campaign for consumers from March 1 to 20 to coincide with the fourth GCC Consumer Protection Day.
Also during the meeting, Al Nuaimi announced the ministry's intention of applying an "early warning system" this year.
"This system is an electronic link between the ministry, the outlets and the points of entry of goods into the UAE, and aims to identify the volume and prices of commodities entering the country. It will enable the MoE to form an index about the quantities of certain commodities."