DUBAI // The price of basic food items at supermarkets will fall by up to 50 per cent this Ramadan, the Ministry of Economy says.
Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of the ministry’s consumer protection department, said prices would drop by between 20 and 50 per cent, and that no price increase requests would be considered until after the holy month.
Dr Al Nuaimi said supermarkets across the country would be better prepared for the Ramadan rush this year. The ministry has asked companies to stock up on vegetables, fruit and other staples for bulk buying.
It has asked all supermarkets in Abu Dhabi to submit their marketing plan and price cuts for Ramadan, which is expected to begin on June 6.
Dr Al Nuaimi said he expected prices to drop, on average, by 25 per cent this Ramadan.
Supermarkets have backed the price cuts. LuLu Hypermarkets said it would continue to provide discount Ramadan kits as it has for three years.
“We reduce the price of commodities, especially food that is consumed in large quantities,” said LuLu spokesman V Nandakumar. “These include rice, sugar, milk powder and oil.”
A large kit costs Dh160 while a smaller one is sold for Dh100.
Mr Nandakumar said that the packages amounted to savings of up to 30 per cent.
“Ramadan is not the time to make profit out of food,” he said. “We welcome the initiative by the ministry to reduce the tendency to make a killing during Ramadan because it’s not right.”
Mr Nandakumar said LuLu worked with food importers, suppliers and makers to reduce expenses in Ramadan, and sourced products at a lower cost.
A fund created as part of its corporate social responsibility also helped to compensate for the reduced prices. “We are aware it will affect our bottom line so we have a fund for it.”
Almaya Supermarkets will have Ramadan promotions at its 47 stores across the country.
“Almaya is very active during Ramadan and we will have extra promotions in our stores,” said Bejoy Thomas, chief operating officer. “It won’t be restricted within the limits of the ministry. We’ll go beyond that, as we’ve been preparing for this for the past five months.”
Prices for fruit and vegetables will be dropped, and dates kiosks and stands for Arab sweets, herbs and spices are planned.
“We’re going to be very competitive in our pricing. It’s an excellent initiative by the Ministry of Economy,” Mr Thomas said.
He said prices were kept in check by the ministry throughout the year.
“But during Ramadan there’s extra caution. It’s the time when all supermarkets are very competitive with their pricing.”
Residents welcomed the price cuts. Egyptian Dina Tarek, 29, said dropping prices was in the spirit of the holy month.
“I think it’s great that there will be a reduction in prices, especially during a time when it’s all about family gatherings and about being thankful for what you have,” said Ms Tarek.
“My shopping habits in Ramadan don’t really change, as we’re only two people in the house – me and my husband. We get invited to family members’ houses most of the time.
“I would imagine that inviting people all the time can get expensive, so decreasing prices would be very helpful and simply a nice move.”
Ms Tarek said that Ramadan was not a time to think about how to make more money, but one to show support and love to the people in the community.
Diana Jammal, 32, from Lebanon, will spend her first Ramadan in Dubai this year.
“I think it’s very impressive that the sales outlets are to -decrease prices,” Ms Jammal said. “Shops in other countries may intentionally hike up prices knowing that people need to shop more for family iftars.”
But despite the cut in prices, she will not be buying more than what she needs.
“I live alone and usually cook enough to last for a couple of days, so I don’t think I would want to stock up or anything like that,” Ms Jammal said.
Source: uae news