Browsing 'MEC' News

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To keep popular groceries affordable during a busy shopping season, Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has instituted price caps on 418 products throughout Ramadan.

Since Sunday, stores have been prohibited by law to charge more than a set amount for certain types of rice, flour, milk, yogurt, meat, soap, jam, dried fruit, frozen products, cheeses and other items.

Here’s the full list of products, in English and Arabic.

Al Meera is taking that idea a step further. It has pledged once again to sell more than 1,400 items at cost-price to consumers who shop at most of its stores.

Easing the burden

The prices will remain in effect throughout the month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin this weekend.

In a statement, the MEC explained that grocery shopping surges some 25 percent during Ramadan, and this annual price cap initiative helps “ease the burden” on customers.

Lesley Walker / Doha News

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Usually, ministry prices for the listed items come out to 10 percent less than their usual cost.

This is the seventh year that the government has set maximum prices for basic food and non-food goods during Ramadan.

The month is a time when Muslim families cook large meals to share with relatives, friends and neighbors, as well as those in need.

The MEC added that it would be stepping up inspections in the coming weeks.

Consumers who spot violations of any kind in restaurants and stores can call 16001, email [email protected] or reach out the ministry on Twitter, Instagram or via its mobile app.

Thoughts?

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

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Qatar’s bustling fish market in Abu Hamour will close for good on Sunday, April 9, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has announced.

Vendors will be relocated to a new location in Umm Salal (about 25km northwest of Doha), and the first auction will begin on Sunday after sunset.

In a statement, the MEC said it chose that area because some 70 percent of fish sold at the current market is sourced from the northern part of the country.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

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Plans have been afoot to close the market for a while now, amid complaints that it is overcrowded and unsanitary.

Vendors were informed of the move back in December, and have been preparing to relocate since then.

Situated near Al Mazrouah Yard, the new market can accommodate some 50 vendors. It contains an air-conditioned auction yard and has plenty of parking, the MEC said.

There is also a cafeteria and shops that sell coffee, honey, nuts, spices, baked goods, plants and frozen poultry.

Traders ambivalent

According to the Peninsula, some vendors have expressed concerns that shifting the fish market from such a central location will cause business to drop.

Richard Messenger / Flickr

The fish market in Doha

“The new market is located away from Doha, so it is a matter of concern,” the newspaper quoted one merchant as saying. He added:

“The shifting will cause some temporary sluggishness in business. However, since the new facility is spacious, we hope it would attract more customers as there won’t be any crowding that we see at the Doha fish market.”

According to the MEC, other markets will be set up in Sailiya and Al Wakrah at a later time, due to the population growth in those areas and as a way to cover different areas of the country.

Shabina S. Khatri / Doha News

Fishermen showing off their wares on the Corniche.

The Abu Hamour market will continue to sell fruits, vegetables and meat until these open.

In terms of central Doha, fish will still be sold on the Corniche and in supermarkets.

The Umm Salal fish market will open from 6am to 10pm, Saturdays to Thursdays; and from 6am to 10:30am on 3pm to 10pm on Fridays.

Thoughts?

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MEC

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In its latest attempt to outlaw fake sales, Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has ruled that all shops must use a new quality mark when advertising their promotions.

The yellow “shop with confidence” logo should be “clearly and prominently” displayed on all stores’ posters and adverts to prove that the ministry has approved the promotions.

This is to boost transparency and “build customers’ trust” during sales, the MEC said in a statement this week about the initiative.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Ezdan Mall

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Shops that want to hold sales are already required to obtain a license that proves the goods they are discounting translate into genuine price savings for customers.

The MEC has previously penalized stores that don’t follow the rules stipulated in Qatar’s Consumer Protection Law (No. 8 of 2008).

This included fining and temporary closing stores, as well as withdrawing their permit to run promotions.

How it works

All stores must use the ministry’s new logo in promotional material that announces their sale.

This includes newspaper adverts and billboard posters, as well as on signs inside and outside their premises, the ministry’s announcement states.

The ministry’s website has template adverts that include its new mark and which can be downloaded by stores.

Sample newspaper advert using "shop with confidence" mark

MEC

Sample newspaper advert using “shop with confidence” mark

The bottom right corner of the sign is in yellow and includes the MEC logo and its hotline number for customer complaints.

“The presence of such trademark on an advertisement shows that the shop holds a reductions’ license from the ministry and fully complies with all standards, laws and regulations,” the MEC said.

Customers are also entitled to ask to see the price of the goods before the promotion. Additionally, the percentage of discount applied during the sale should be stated.

The ministry urged shoppers with complaints to contact its consumer protection hotline on 16001or e-mail: [email protected]

Crackdown

The ministry has taken a hard line in recent years on stores that hold sales, following numerous customer complaints about bogus discounts.

Last December, department store BHS was fined nearly QR20,000 for apparently misleading customers during its sales promotion.

In a statement at the time, the ministry said inspectors found that the Landmark mall branch had had been charging more for items than had been advertised.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

MEC/Twitter

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

And in June last year, three stores also in Landmark mall were fined QR6,000 each and had their licenses to hold discounts revoked after officers found their discounts to be bogus.

One of them was the popular children’s clothes shop Gymboree.

Thoughts?