Cyprus Mail

Despite falling oil price cost of basic products remains high

Despite the sharp fall in the price of oil, and by extension electricity, the cost to consumers of basic products such as bread and milk remained high, MPs said on Tuesday.

House Commerce Committee chairman Zaharias Zahariou said electricity prices had dropped some 40 per cent in the past three years while fuel fell 20 per cent.

“However, there do not seem to be significant reductions in the chain, by the time the products reach consumers,” he said.

Zahariou said the committee has asked for specific data and the matter will be revisited at a later date.

“What is important is to reach a point where consumers pay the right price for the right product,” he said. “We cannot impose prices, we can criticise however, and show whether some people are profiteering. Our intention is to exercise political pressure to reduce the price of essential products to the benefit of consumers.”

AKEL MP Costas Costa said the price of bread and milk skyrocketed when the cost of crude oil reached $120 per barrel but three years later, with it at around €30 per barrel, it is as if nothing happened.

The opposition MP accused the government of not doing anything to resolve the matter.

Costa said the ministry did not have the political will to even look into the possibility of issuing a decree setting a ceiling on the price of bread and milk.

DIKO’s Angelos Votsis said it would be difficult to sort the mess out without a plafond.

“The only way to pressure prices downwards is through imposing a plafond on certain products,” he said.

Votsis conceded it would not be easy but it was a tool that the government should consider and use if the prices are judged to be high.

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