“Under a memorandum of understanding signed with local suppliers, production of 50-kilogram sacks was raised from 150,000 a day to no less than 250,000 sacks a day, while also reducing the price of 50kg cement sacks from AED17 [$4.6] to AED16,” said Al-Shihhi.

Analysts say UAE cement demand is currently 70,000 tonnes a day, equivalent to more than 25 million tonnes a year.

Al-Shihhi said the ministry would continue to work with local suppliers to ensure the market was adequately supplied and prices kept under control.

“The Ministry of Economy has also signed a memorandum of understanding with local government departments in order to watch the market and prevent any exploitation which could negatively affect the local market and the UAE’s commitment to a free economy,” he said.

“The ministry will continue to combat all monopolistic activities which contradict the open nature of the national economy and negatively affect free market principles.”