Saturday, February 24, 2007

Supply and demand in the news

And, as I tell my students, usually not in the business section.

Item 1: The UAE must tighten laws on recruiters and lawyers who fly into the emirates to poach nurses, an immigration consultant has warned. ... An official from the Ministry of Health complained that it loses 10 per cent of its nurses every year. "It's not so much the loss, but the time spent in training the new staff," he complained. The UAE recently hiked salaries of nurses, but doctors and medical staff say it will not work in holding the nurses back here. "The money is a band aid," said MacDonald. She said there are other reasons besides the huge difference in salaries here and in Western nations. ... Health workers also blame the rise in living cost and lack of challenges here. ... Marianne Gerstner, chief nursing officer at the Medcare Hospital, said it was getting more difficult to recruit experienced and qualified nurses for her hospital. ... "I have seen many who spend a few years here and use their time here as a stepping stone to progress in their careers."

Item 2: Ras Al Khaimah: Bakeries have ignored orders from the municipality not to raise bread prices, saying that prices of wheat and diesel fuel have shot up. The price of a large loaf of bread has jumped from 50 to 75 fils. "Copies of the official notice were delivered in person to each bakery with clear instructions to stick to the old price," said Mubarak Ali Al Shamsi, Director of RAK Municipality. He said a market study showed that there was no excuse for the bakeries to increase prices of bread. The official said the study was done after complaints from the public. "Bread is a basic commodity and the municipality will not allow this," he said. ... Sayed Ahmad, in charge of a bakery, said he earlier bought a 50 kilo bag of wheat for Dh40, but retailers recently increased the price to Dh70. "The 25 fils increase [in price] is not much for the customers," he claimed and said that a big loaf now weighs 220 grams as opposed to 150 grams earlier. "We cannot survive on the old prices," he said. A senior official in the Department of Economic Development said bakeries now also have to pay commercial registration fees of Dh400. He said expenses of bakeries have increased.

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