By Manoj Nair gulfnews.com
Gold and fragrance buyers in Abu Dhabi can be reassured they are getting what they pay for with the authorities bringing in new verification requirements for retailers’ weighing scales.
The new regime will require measuring instruments to be labelled with identifiable marks that clearly show the equipment readings to be accurate and conform to UAE standards.
The formal launch follows a pilot programme during February that involved 68 gold retailers in Zayed Gold City. At the time, 125 weighing scales were inspected and results showed a number of them failed to comply with the prevailing norms.
“Verified scales will ensure a fair and competitive marketplace, and that neither the consumer nor the retailer is disadvantaged due to inaccurate measuring equipment,” according to a spokesperson with the government agency.
The weights comprising each verification kit are traceable to the International System of Units and the Swiss accredited calibration service.
QCC will also have a team of inspectors qualified to carry out market surveillance duties with these kits.
The agency plans to expand the standardisation initiative to other categories “that use measuring equipment for weight, distance or volumes”, according to the spokesperson.
“This could be sectors from grocery stores and taxi services to petrol stations and pre-packed goods, to name just a few, all of which many be subject to similar industry-specific pilot studies before launch,” the spokesperson added.
According to sources in the gold trade, only Kuwait among Gulf states has a system in place for the standardisation of weighing scales, which are required to be checked and approval seals provided periodically by the authority there.
“Abu Dhabi’s move is clearly intended to create a level playing ground for all gold retailers in the emirate and enhance consumer confidence,” said a senior official with a jewellery firm which operates multiple outlets in the emirate. “Standardising the measures and the scales is the logical way to do it.
“We don’t know whether there is any move to institute a similar requirement in Dubai, which is the heart of the region’s gold trade. But Dubai’s authorities have periodic checks at the retailer outlets and that ensures the trade maintains optimum transparency.”
The new standardization measures for the gold and perfume sectors in Abu Dhabi were outlined by the Quality Conformity Council at a seminar yesterday.