UAE supermarkets facing huge demand ahead of excise tax
Consumers across the emirates seem to be stocking up on cigarettes ahead of Sunday's price hike
Certain consumer goods will become more expensive in less than 24 hours - which has resulted in huge demand and stockpiling across the country.
In a landmark move, the price of tobacco products and caffeinated drinks is to double on Sunday with the introduction of what has been labelled a "sin tax", while sugary soft drinks will be subject to a 50 per cent increase in excise duty.
The Government hopes pushing up prices will encourage people to turn away from unhealthy products like cigarettes and fizzy drinks, which place a heavy burden on the health service and contribute significantly to diseases like diabetes and cancer.
But it also seems to have led to many trying to horde stock - mostly cigarettes - before the tax implementation, with reports of consumers buying dozens of cartons at a time.
In Dubai, Ihab Ahmed said he'd attempted to buy a few cartons of cigarettes in Silicon Oasis. However, he said the cigarette shelves at the supermarkets were "barely filled with anything", and the petrol stations were also running low on stock.
"I thought I'd stash too, and asked if they have full packs. They're like 'No, packs all sold'.
"There were a couple of stores - two medium to large ones where their shelves were half empty and one didn't have my brand and neither had carton packs."
Other social media users reported calling several of their local supermarkets, only to be told they're all out of cigarettes.
Dawn Metcalfe said she had just tried to buy some cigarettes from Al Maya, but they were all out.
It seems consumers have been less quick to stockpile cartons of energy drinks.
The new taxes will also contribute millions of dirhams to the UAE budget and will be followed by the introduction of VAT of five per cent on many products and services in the New Year.
Updated: October 2, 2017 11:10 AM