Law No. 3 of 2020
The Late H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the then President of the UAE approved Federal Law No. 3 of 2020 Regarding the Regulation of the Strategic Stock of Food Commodities. The law was approved with an aim to organise food supplies in the event of crises, emergencies and disasters, and achieve food sustainability. The provisions of the law apply to suppliers and the registered merchants.
Powers of Ministry of Economy
The law specifies the powers of Ministry of Economy to implement the provisions of the law. The ministry has jurisdiction to prepare reports, studies and statistics, carry out economic evaluation of the food commodities, estimate the volume of consumption, determine the surplus and deficit, prepare databases on the production and availability of food commodities in the UAE and the countries of origin.
The ministry may also follow-up with suppliers, in addition to coordinating and implementing sustainability and safety policies for the strategic stock of food commodities, in coordination with National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) and the competent authority, to achieve a safe strategic stock of food commodities.
Registered merchant's obligations
The law specifies establishing a record of registration and classification of suppliers and merchants. It also mentions distributing the stock of strategic commodities in the event of emergencies, crises or disasters under the distribution plans prepared by the NCEMA in coordination with the competent authority.
A producer or importer is one who supplies food commodities to distributors and merchants, whether locally or abroad. A registered merchant is someone who engages in a commercial activity related to food commodities and is licensed in the UAE as per this law.
Warehouses and storage conditions
The law obliges registered merchants to manage the strategic stock of food commodities and warehouse by specifying the location, area and size of the store designated for the food commodities provided that the warehouse is in the country.
Incentives and facilities
The law specifies that it is permissible to grant incentives and facilities to registered merchants under the regulations as may be issued by a Cabinet decision.
The law specifies various penalties that include a fine of no less than AED 500,000 and not more than AED 2,000,000, to registered merchant who violates the obligations outlined in this law.
The law also stipulates that whoever severs electronic connection with the competent authority and NCEMA to ensure the continuous follow-up of quantities, varieties and status of the strategic stock of food commodities and also violates the preservation and management of the strategic stock of food commodities will be punished with a fine of not less than AED 100,000 and not more than AED 1,000,000.
Further, anyone who violates the provision of the stock of strategic commodities in the event of emergencies, crises or disasters according to the distribution plans prepared by NCEMA in coordination with the competent authority will be punished with imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED 1,000,000 and not more than AED 5,000,000.
In the case of repeated violations, penalties determined for the crimes stipulated in this law will be doubled.
The law stipulates the possibility for employees, who are determined by a decision of Minister of Justice in agreement with Minister of Economy or the head of the competent authority, to have the capacity of judicial seizure officers to prove anything that violates the provisions of the law.
Updated on 13 Jun 2022