Sami Al Qamzi
Sami Al Qamzi Image Credit: Screengrab

Dubai: Businesses should not take advantage of the COVID-19 situation and make more profit, said Sami Al Qamzi, Director-General of the Department of Economic Development (DED), on Thursday during a televised press conference.

Addressing the issue of retailers increasing prices in Dubai, he said: “The highest number of fines we gave out over the last week were due to retailers increasing prices.”

People urged to complain in case of price hike

He encouraged members of the public to get in touch with the DED via their call center to complain if ever they come across an increase in prices on goods.

“Our assessment of the retail market following social distancing rules, is very good, but we are looking to make it excellent.”

He explained that 80 per cent of retailers are now complying with the COVID-19 rules that were set by the government.

“Our aim is to ensure that retailers are following all the safety measures. When we first announced that stores were allowed to open, we did many random checks and had to fine and close down multiple businesses. However, as days went on, we were issuing less fines. This is due to an increase in awareness about the safety measures through the media and social media platforms.

Our main aim is for retailers not to close again," he said.

Impact on Dubai’s economy

“COVID-19 has affected Dubai the way it has affected many other cities and countries all over the world. Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has dealt with the issue in a very professional way and this has given a lot of companies confidence to stay here. We are in a stage where businesses are going to pick back up again in the UAE,” Al Qamzi said.

He also addressed resuming tourist activity. “The relaunch of the tourism industry depends on how well everyone is taking part in controlling the spread of the virus. We don’t want a temporary situation of illness to turn into a permanent economic issue. We’ve given companies a lot of financial exemptions, so that they won’t have to close down or lose staff. Our priority is to keep the jobs of the private sector,” Al Qamzi said.