By Amy Glass
Stores that exploit consumers during holy month will be severely punished, gov't warns.
Exploitative retailers who deliberately hike food prices during the holy month of Ramadan face severe punishment including being shut down, the UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) warned on Tuesday.
Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdel Aziz Alshihhi, planning sector undersecretary at the MoE, said the ministry would launch an inspection campaign to monitor prices during Ramadan.
The UAE-wide initiative aimed to prevent price manipulation or monopolisation, and ensure stable prices during the holy month, he said.
Government officials will inspect retail outlets to ensure that prices remain at previously agreed levels.
The ministry has also launched a ‘hotline’, allowing consumers to notify the MoE of price monopolisation or price rises via telephone.
“The ministry is always on the lookout to enhance the stability of the market and control price rises. During Ramadan some traders tend to take advantage of the situation and increase prices,” Alshihhi said.
"Through its offices all over the UAE, the Ministry of Economy will take strict steps against any such attempt to exploit consumers."
Violators will be punished according to the UAE's consumer protection law, with penalties including the closing down of outlets, he warned.
The ministry has also issued a circular in Arabic, English and Urdu to retailers and suppliers warning them against any exploitation during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr.