Cyprus Mail

Prices of essential goods unjustifiably high

Prices of essential goods in Cyprus remain unjustifiably high MPs said on Tuesday, calling for the creation of a mobile application tracking the prices of goods in real time.

Lawmakers were reviewing a study prepared by the ministry of commerce concerning price fluctuations over the last four years.

The report included a breakdown of costs at points of sale, as well as the cost of labour, energy and raw materials.

Among others it found that the price of milk in Cyprus went up by 9 per cent during the 2012 to 2014 period.

Elsewhere in the EU, milk prices dropped 26 per cent in the 2014 to 2016 period.

But in Cyprus, prices refused to budge. For instance, in May 2013 a litre of milk went for €1.31 and for €1.27 in May 2015.

Meanwhile during the same time period, 2014 to 2016, fuel prices declined by 42 per cent, electricity by 31 per cent, and labour costs by 5 per cent.

Members of the House commerce committee observed that the price of milk and bread in Cyprus is high compared to other countries.

They called for the creation of an app for smart phones and tablets to track the price of essential goods.

The information would allow consumers to gravitate toward the best deals, thus rewarding those products with the lowest price tags and enhancing competition.
Committee chairman Zacharias Zachariou (DISY) said there was scope for bringing prices down.

The committee, he said, is not pleased with the effectiveness of the Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC).

But, he hastened to add, this was not the CPC’s fault, as the body has been known to be hampered by issues of political appointments and legislation that lacks teeth.

AKEL MP Costas Costa said it is the government’s responsibility to protect consumers from profiteers.

“There are some who are still getting rich by taking advantage of the government’s and the CPC’s inaction,” he noted.

EDEK’s Giorgos Varnava said Cyprus is the most expensive EU country when it comes to milk, but also bread, the price of which is around 30 per cent higher than the EU average.

He called on the commerce ministry and the CPC to launch a probe to determine possible price collusion in the market.

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