More than 60 per cent of the total retail space for groceries (amounting to 32000 sq m) entitled to implement the new standards and specification has already been taken up, said a committee for reorganizing the retail (groceries) sector in Abu Dhabi.
The committee has launched a major initiative to reform the grocery sector through a set of stringent new health and safety rules
“Our objective is primarily to protect the interests of the consumers. They deserve the best services, a transparent and uniform pricing mechanism and reliable and safe food. The government has done its best to support the retail sector to facilitate a hassle-free transition to the new system,” said Mohamed Jalal Al Rayssi, the official spokesperson for the committee.
Two pilot projects were done in Al Ma’moora and Hamdan Street to showcase the new Baqala project by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA).
The committee pointed out that the positive effects of the change were evident not only in Abu Dhabi but in the suburban areas as well.
“The consumers are having a new and qualitatively different experience, a fact confirmed by the massive appreciation expressed through the social media,” said the top official.
The committee clarified that it was still receiving requests for registration for the changes from grocery owners who did not do so until the deadline of December 31 last year.
“The massive interest shown of late by grocery owners prompted the committee to allow them to register until March 6, more than two months beyond the initial deadline” it added.
Al Rayssi said the grace period will allow those who lagged behind to register for the project before March 6. “They will have to complete the renovation of their groceries no later than June 30 this year, a period of four months from the last day for registration,” he stated.
He warned that those groceries that do not comply within this time frame will have to close shop.
“The reforms in the retail sector were long overdue. It is integral to the Abu Dhabi Government’s Vision 2030, as well as to the advanced food safety infrastructure being put in place by the ADFCA,” said Al Rayssi.
“We must note that most of the groceries functioned here for decades without any improvements whatsoever in their infrastructure. Their standards were very poor compared to all other services offered in the emirate. The storage and display of food items in most of them remained rather primitive and posed significant threats to food safety, in addition to arbitrary pricing practices that consumers had to put up with,” he added.
According to him, the objective is primarily to protect the interests of the consumers. “They deserve the best services, a transparent and uniform pricing mechanism and reliable and safe food. The government has done its best to support the retail sector to facilitate a hassle-free transition to the new system,” he noted.
“A Technical Information Centre was functioning to offer free consultations on the required changes,” he added.