May 28, 2024

Ministry of Economy unveils its plan to strengthen pricing regulations and protect consumer rights

 The Ministry of Economy (MoEc) held a media briefing at its Dubai headquarters today (Wednesday, 6March, 2024) outlining its plan to strengthen the supervision of prices of products and services in the country’s markets during Ramadan 2024. The goal is to safeguard consumer rights within a comprehensive and leading consumer ecosystem that is in line with global standards, thus maintaining a balanced trade-consumer relationship in the UAE.

Through this plan, the Ministry aims to strengthen its collaboration with partners in enforcing consumer protection laws and regulations in the country. It also seeks to educate consumers about the country’s legislative framework for consumer protection; the pricing policies for essential goods, thus promoting consumer knowledge and awareness on their rights and responsibilities when making purchases; and guiding them towards making informed consumption choices.

H.E. Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring & Follow Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, emphasized that the UAE is moving forward in establishing a comprehensive regulatory and legal framework to safeguard consumers and guarantee their rights. He pointed out that the Ministry of Economy consistently works in cooperation with relevant government bodies at the federal and local levels, particularly through the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, engaging and coordinating with the cooperative sector, private sector, and stakeholders to create a safe and favorable environment for consumers when buying products or using services.

In this context, Al Shamsi said: “The Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry organized over 26 meetings with suppliers of essential goods in the country in 2023. These goods include cooking oil, eggs, dairy products, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread, and wheat. All these meetings were aimed at ensuring the adequate availability of products to meet consumer needs during Ramadan 2024.”

Al Shamsi added: “The UAE implements best policies to ensure a strategic supply of all vital goods required by citizens, residents, and visitors in the country, in ample quantities for extended periods, guided by clear directives and unwavering support from our wise leadership.” He also pointed out that as Ramadan approaches, the UAE markets see a substantial increase in the availability of goods and products, especially that of essential consumer items. He further emphasized the Ministry’s commitment to meeting all consumer needs and facilitating their access to these goods effortlessly and without any unjustified price hikes, and providing the quantities they require.

In addition, Al Shamsi explained that the prices of essential goods cannot be increased without prior approval from the Ministry and relevant authorities, following the pricing policy for basic consumer goods. This policy includes a ban on raising prices for nine key items: cooking oil, eggs, dairy, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread, and wheat. The enactment of Federal Decree Law No. 5 of 2023 amending certain provisions of Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on consumer protection, along with its executive regulations, has strengthened consumer rights and supported national efforts to tighten price regulation in the UAE’s markets. This involves the imposition of over 43 obligations on suppliers and implementing comprehensive regulatory measures to promote fair business practices.

In his speech, H.E added: “The Ministry will oversee the promotions announced by a group of consumer cooperatives and outlets in the country and those related to the discounts on the prices of goods and products during the holy month of Ramadan. The discounts on some products in the cooperatives go up to nearly 50 per cent.”

H.E. noted that, during the month of Ramadan 2024, promotions for goods and products in some cooperatives will cover nearly 4,000 commodities advertised through promotional campaigns within the country’s markets. Sales rates ranged from 25 per cent to 75 per cent, while e-store discounts reached over 40 per cent on commodities in Ramadan and 70 per cent on seasonal commodities such as vegetables and fruits, which witness pent-up demand during the month. A large set of outlets have also announced a 75 per cent increase in discounts on goods and products during the month of Ramadan 2024.

H.E. explained that the main reasons behind the increase in promotions are the increased competition between outlets, availability of supply in large quantities, and high consumer awareness among individuals.

New initiatives to strengthen consumer protection

Furthermore, H.E. reviewed a series of new initiatives that the Ministry of Economy, in collaboration with relevant federal and local authorities and economic development departments, seeks to implement during the next phase. They will promote a safe environment for consumers in the country and raise it to new levels of competitiveness and prosperity. These initiatives include:

  • Establishing a national team to monitor the prices of essential consumer goods and products in the country.
  • Promulgating a code of conduct to strengthen the contractual relationship between outlets and suppliers in the country’s markets.
  • The Ministry and the relevant authorities shall oversee retailers’ adherence to the unit prices, while monitoring and taking appropriate action on any irregularities regarding the obligation of not raising the prices of essential consumer goods.

Implementation of market inspection tours

H.E. revealed that in 2023, the Ministry’s teams and economic development departments carried out nearly 96,200 inspection tours, resulting in the detection of 6,645 violations. The number of inspections carried out by the Ministry in January and February 2024 totaled approximately 620. He noted that these tours form part of the Ministry’s efforts to further monitor markets and outlets and assess merchants’ commitment to price labelling, as well as prevent cases of commercial fraud and trademark infringements.

Al Shamsi also confirmed the availability of alternatives to consumers, giving them the option to choose products based on their purchasing needs and budget. This allows them the flexibility to shift from one brand to another when its price is higher, the quality is low, or there are other competitive advantages. This is of great significance since the purchasing decisions of consumers are a key and critical factor that influences prices, market trends, and supply and demand.

He pointed out the key role consumers play as partners in the market monitoring efforts by interacting with regulatory bodies and contacting the Ministry of Economy or relevant authorities through available channels to file complaints. The can also report harmful business practices for consumer protection, or submit proposals and ideas that contribute to the development of the consumer protection culture in the country by dialing 8001222.

He called on consumers to adhere to conscious purchasing practices such as retaining the invoice, which is the first step towards securing their rights and matching them with what they had purchased. Invoices guarantee that any complaints regarding the violation of consumer rights are lodged with the relevant competent authority.

H.E. concluded his speech noting that the Ministry of Economy’s efforts, in collaboration with the relevant federal and local authorities and economic development departments, to develop the consumer protection environment in the country are continuing. These efforts guarantee their rights according to highest standards, thereby consolidating and supporting the competitiveness of the UAE economy and positioning the UAE market as a sustainable destination for major brands.

Last Updated on 3 months by Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers the latest business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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