The Ministry of Economy (MoE) yesterday announced that all commodities covered by special agreements it has made with various co-operatives, including Carrefour and Lulu Hypermarket, will carry special stickers stating – "2008 fixed price".
These pertain to prices which the ministry had fixed as per 2007 rates, so as to stem the effect of inflation on certain necessary commodities. Ministry Undersecretary Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Shihhi said that this latest initiative was as per the directives of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, which aims to ensure the consumer has easy access to and can identify the many basic commodities covered by the special agreements.
The minister further explained the stickers reflect the MoE's commitment to enforcing the terms of the agreements it signed with the co-operative societies and the two major retail companies and its broader responsibility of protecting consumers from the negative effects of global hikes in the prices of basic food products.
He added the outlets that have signed price stabilisation agreements with the ministry own around 70 per cent of the local retail market. Al Shihhi also highlighted MoE plans to expand the number of retail companies joining its price stabilisation program; pointing out that several associations responded positively to the ministry's previous call to reduce the prices of all basic food commodities and sell selected products to the public at cost prices. This, he said, would counter price hikes and thus maintain market stability.
Al Shihhi praised the co-operative societies and major retailers Carrefour and Lulu Hypermarket for their admirable support of government initiatives to maintain market balance and urged them to explore and implement other initiatives which could further expand the product coverage of their special agreements.
This would form part of their social responsibility activities and contribute to national efforts to lessen the impact of global increases in the prices of basic food commodities.
Al Shihhi also called on traders, institutions, and cooperative societies to take advantage of legal amendments covering the write-off of 15 foodstuff agencies included in the commercial register, and the import of selected food materials to the country's markets without any conditions.
He pointed out that the ministry encourages co-operative societies to import basic foodstuffs collectively through Co-operative Unions so that competitive prices can be implemented, which ultimately serves the interests of consumers, associations, and the local market.