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Water, water all around but not an affordable option in sight…
Is the Ministry of Economy’s threat to fine those restaurants grossly inflating the price of bottled water a cautious move or just an empty threat?
December 26, 2011 2:20 by p.deleon
Some time back, The National conducted an interesting survey concerning the price of water at restaurants in the UAE. Out of the 60 restaurants The National surveyed, 30 were found to serve only imported water and not its cheaper local counterparts. Of those that did serve local water, it wasn’t unusual to find that restaurants increased the price of water bottles by almost 1000 to 2000 percent. The National found that the average cost for local water was Dh18.6 – “almost 1,300 per cent more than the average supermarket price.”
At the time the article was published this August Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, the ministry’s head of consumer protection, said “I am OK with a restaurant selling larger bottles of water for Dh2 or Dh3, but when they charge Dh5 for a bottle that originally costs Dh1.5, then that is completely wrong and unacceptable and actually illegal.”
And though the exorbitant prices restaurants in the UAE charge for water has not changed after the statement from Dr. Nuaimi, four months later the Ministry of Economy has released a warning to those grossly increasing the price of bottled water-a crime it says is punishable with a fine anywhere between Dh 5,000 to Dh100,000. In a statement released by the MOE: “The Committee has not approved any move to raise the prices of water bottles…it has not received any request in this regard and it will not allow any water bottling company to raise the prices since water is an essential commodity and requires official consent for any price rise.”
Cautious move or empty threat? What do you think the chances are the next time you walk into the average restaurant you won’t be expected to dish out the average Dh18.6 for some bottled water?