A UAE federal Cabinet decision on Sunday to scrap commercial agencies for a group of basic food commodities is being implemented, a top-ranking federal government official said yesterday.
"The decision was implemented immediately," Mohammad Abdul Aziz Al Shehi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Economy told Gulf News by telephone.
The Cabinet meeting was chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The move to liberalise the trade of 12 essential commodities will contribute to market stability and further enhance customer rights, said Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, in a statement.
The items that are being liberalised include livestock and dairy products, fats and oils, honey, eggs, fruit juices, salt, yeast, animal feed, detergents and hygiene products.
"The move will further strengthen the competitiveness of the UAE economy by curbing monopoly practices and ensuring the timely supply of goods and services for consumers on a timely basis without any unjustified price rise," said Al Mansouri, adding that dealing with the increase in price of essential commodities is a top priority for the Ministry.
"We will work in cooperation with various retail outlets to launch initiatives that will help reduce prices. We have received suggestions for reducing prices of about 1,000 items this year," said Al Mansouri,
An electronic system is used to monitor price movements to ensure stability by monitoring the commodity market trends in the region and globally, he added.
"Through this move, the government wants to eliminate monopolistic practices, especially with regard to food items. This is a commendable step as it would help reduce inflationary pressures in the UAE economy. It will also have a positive impact on consumers and increase their purchasing power, in general," Dr Mohammad Amerah, an Abu Dhabi-based economist told Gulf News.
Last year, the Ministry of Economy announced the launch of a nationwide campaign to stabilise the prices of 400 major commodities at 70 outlets.
"Retail outlets have responded to the ministry's request and agreed to fix the prices of 400 major commodities at 70 outlets in various emirates until the end of 2011. These outlets include Carrefour, cooperative societies, LuLu Hypermarket and Spinneys which have 75 per cent of the market share of retail outlets in the UAE," Al Shehi said at the time.