• The UAE is conducting a study to develop a policy that will help regulate market prices of basic goods
  • Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq stressed the importance of consistency in pricing goods
  • Last year, the Ministry of Economy approved a policy to keep price hikes of basic items in check

The UAE is making strides to ensure that basic consumer goods on the market are fairly priced. Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq revealed this week that a study was in the works to create a policy that would regulate market rates, protecting consumers and local producers and suppliers.

In a meeting with the Federal National Council, Touq discussed the importance of regulating market prices on essentials and ensuring that there is consistency in pricing essential goods. His statement comes weeks after Abdullah Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Monitoring and Following Up Sector at the Ministry of Economy, said the UAE had "no intention of increasing prices of essential items."

Price hikes in the UAE made headlines in March after the Ministry of Economy approved a temporary 13 percent increase in the cost of poultry products, allegedly as a result of skyrocketing production costs from suppliers. Later, the ministry said the price hike only applied to goods supplied by certain local producers and that it was not intended.

Al Shamsi also promised the ministry would take steps to ensure no unfair price hikes would happen in the future. "We want to ensure that no unjustified price hikes are applied by suppliers and strengthen mechanisms to counter monopoly practices," he said at the time.

The rise in the cost of poultry products last month drew criticism from consumers, especially since it was implemented shortly before the start of Ramadan. In response, Al Touq said the price hike had nothing to do with Ramadan, explaining that it was necessary to ease the impact of steep increases in the production cost, as well as the cost of imported feeds and other materials used by poultry and egg farmers in their farms.

Al Touq also explained that companies and farmers submitted their request for a price hike as early as October 2022, after which the ministry conducted a study to look into the recommended hike. With the help of a special advisory team, the Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection, which operates under the Ministry of Economy, recommended a price increase on eggs and other poultry products.

In early 2022, the ministry approved a policy to keep price hikes of basic goods in check. Under the new policy, suppliers need to submit evidence to justify requests for price increases on certain goods, including cooking oil, bread, rice, sugar, and eggs.

The recent surge in oil prices has stoked further fears about inflation, weighing on market sentiment