Al Shamsi speaks during the event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
The Ministry of Economy held a media briefing session to highlight its sustained efforts in the field of customer protection all-round the year, and especially during the holy month of Ramadan. The session was led by Abdullah Sultan Al Fan Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring and Follow Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy.
Al Shamsi emphasised that the UAE has a strong customer protection framework that upholds and ensures consumer rights and regulates markets to contribute to their stability and prosperity. It ensures the right balance between the rights of merchants and consumers in the country’s markets.
The media briefing shed light on the key initiatives undertaken by the Ministry in collaboration with its partners in the field of consumer protection.
Al Shamsi said: “The Ministry of Economy works alongside our federal and local government partners, especially the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, and communicates and coordinates with the cooperatives, the private sector and stakeholders in order to continuously develop the UAE’s consumer protection policies. Through these collective efforts, we set the necessary mechanisms and implement initiatives that guarantee their rights in accordance with the highest global standards and in line with the UAE’s Federal Law No. 15 of 2020 on Consumer Protection.” He explained that the Ministry of Economy, represented by the Department of Consumer Protection, held 26 meetings with basic commodity suppliers in the UAE in 2023. These commodities include rice, flour, sugar, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, juices, and others. The meetings were aimed at ensuring that there are sufficient stocks of these commodities to meet the needs of consumers during Ramadan.
Meetings were also held with the fruit and vegetables committees in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in order to ensure that sufficient stocks of these products are available in the country’s markets. The daily consumption volume of fruits and vegetables in Dubai market is 19,000 tonnes, while the volume of fruit and vegetable imports in Abu Dhabi is nearly 6,000 tonnes. The currently available stock of fruits and vegetables in the country’s markets is 143,000 tonnes.
Al Shamsi explained that the Ministry of Economy will follow up on and monitor the initiatives announced by cooperative societies and sales outlets in the country, which include discounts on various commodity prices during Ramadan. Customers can avail discounts of up to 50% at coop branches and outlets. Discounts apply to nearly 6,000 commodities selected by these outlets and coops.
With regard to the monitoring of the market and sales outlets to assess the degree to which the merchants are adhering to the decisions issued by the Ministry of Economy regarding prices, H.E. Al Shamsi said that the relevant teams from the Ministry and the Departments of Economic Development conducted 94,123 inspections in the UAE’s markets in 2022, which found 4,227 violations.
He added that the Ministry and its partners conducted 8,170 inspections in the first few months of 2023, which detected 1,030 violations. Through these inspections, the relevant departments made sure that price tags are being displayed and quality products are offered to consumers, thus preventing instances of fraud and trademark infringements.
The Assistant Undersecretary emphasized that the UAE has adopted some of the best and most efficient policies to ensure the availability of strategic stocks of all basic commodities to effectively meet the needs of citizens, residents and visitors for longer periods. He attributed this achievement to the clear directives and unlimited support from the UAE’s wise leadership, which place the availability of essential food and medicine on top of the government’s priorities.
He said: “Despite the challenges faced by the global supply chains due to today’s political and economic developments, the Ministry of Economy made sure that no unjustified price hikes were implemented by suppliers. In addition, the methods for combating monopoly practices and supporting sound trade practices have also been strengthened.” Moreover, H.E. stated that through these proactive resolutions, the UAE aims to establish a fair and balanced relationship between the supplier and the consumer that would maintain the rights of all parties. These efforts will help enhance market stability and business continuity, and ensure the availability of essential commodities to consumers at all times.
Al Shamsi further highlighted that the Ministry of Economy remains keen to promote a sound consumption culture in the country; prevent the sale of anything that could harm the health, safety or finances of consumers; raise consumers’ awareness regarding their rights; and provide them with correct product information.