More than 100 UAE retailers fined for increasing price of essential items

Price hikes were prohibited on some items to support residents during global cost of living crisis

Current price controls are on essential items including cooking oil, eggs, dairy, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread and wheat. EPA
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Inspectors monitoring supermarkets and grocery shops in the UAE have issued more than 100 violations to retailers who raised the price of essential items.

A total of 125 sellers were found to have increased the price of groceries such as chicken and eggs between April and July 5, despite a government limit in place to protect consumers.

Around 95 per cent of supermarkets, retailers and grocers in the UAE had not increased the prices of eggs and poultry.

The Consumer Protection Supreme Committee said more than 209 spot checks have also been carried out by inspectors on retailers and stores, with more planned in the coming weeks.

The UAE's Ministry of Economy held a meeting on Tuesday, chaired by the minister Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, to discuss the policies of price controls on essential items approved by the UAE cabinet.

The price controls order in April was on essential items including cooking oil, eggs, dairy, rice, sugar, poultry, legumes, bread and wheat.

Supermarkets were told they must get permission from the ministry to charge more than the amount set by the authorities for these items.

The ministry said those who breach the mandate would be fined, starting at Dh10,000 up to Dh200,000 for repeat offenders.

“The committee discussed supportive orders and policies to enhance the consumer protection system in the country. Economic development departments in the UAE have a major role in imposing price control on essential items,” said the minister.

In March, the ministry allowed a 13 per cent price increase for eggs and poultry products applied only to items supplied by nine UAE producers.

The authority said they were allowing a temporary price increase for those food products following a request from companies that had reported significant rises in costs.

UAE consumers took to social media platforms to express their disappointment about prices being increased at the time, in the month of Ramadan.

Abdullah Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary for the Monitoring and Following Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, said at the time: “We have no intention of increasing prices of essential items.

“We want to ensure that no unjustified price hikes are applied by suppliers and strengthen mechanisms to counter monopoly practices.

“We were cautious about the order to approve the increase but these firms submitted a request with reports about significant rises in the price of fodder, shipping and overall production expenses."

Consumers can file complaints about unauthorised price increases and report commercial malpractice by calling 800 12 22.

Updated: July 19, 2023, 4:26 PM