Jewellery shop weighing scales to be checked
The Saudi Arabian Government is to check every weighing scale in jewellery shops around the country after a survey found that more than a third of the machines gave incorrect readings.
The Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (Esma)said it would spend six months checking an estimated 12,000 scales being used by jewellers.
The move comes after Esma conducted a survey that found 35 per cent of scales in three emirates did not meet jewellery standards.
"We will have to take care of every single scale that's out there in the market for gold," said Mohammed Al Mulla, the director of metrology at Esma.
Jewellery scales would be the first phase in the verification of every scale being used in transactions, including those used in grocery stores, he added.
Esma surveyed 800 jewellery weighing scales in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ajman from April to last month, which it estimates covers less than 10 per cent of the total jewellery scales in the country.
A survey covering Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah will be conducted over the next two months and the Dubai Municipality has also agreed with Esma to undergo its own survey in that time frame.
Esma will then begin checking all the scales in the country in the first quarter of next year.
Firoz Merchant, the chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, said the Government had already been taking a zero tolerance approach to incorrect scales.
Some traders, he said, might be adjusting scales slightly in their favour to earn what he called the "manipulative" or "hidden" margin. He said the extra money made could work out at up to Dh2,000 (US$544) a day more profit if the jeweller conducted many transactions.
While differences between correct and incorrect scales are small, the inconsistency can make a significant impact in the trade of precious metals, given the rising price. Gold has gained 27 per cent this year to levels close to $1,790.
Mr Al Mulla said Esma was not accusing traders of wrongly adjusting scales, but that if the agency found any business doing so, it would be fined.
Traders in the Madinat Zayed Gold Souk in Abu Dhabi said a new set of scales would cost Dh3,000 to Dh4,000 and they could last up to 15 years.
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