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Ruling party pledges ‘no return to food bank policies’ as price hikes imminent

File Photo: Volunteers at the Larnaca food bank package items

Ruling Disy has pledged there would be no return to the economic polices that led to the advent of food banks in Cyprus following the 2013 financial crisis on the island.

The party’s pledge to mark International Day for the Eradication of Poverty comes at a time when a tsunami of price rises is imminent due to various disruptions in the global supply chain.

“We will not let our country return to the policies that led it to social groceries, we will not leave room for those policies that deprived the citizens of their dignity,” the party said in a statement.

At the same time, opposition Akel said with the coming storm of price hikes, an entire society is being tested when it comes to buying the basic necessities such as fuel, food and electricity.

“The time is critical and requires immediate intervention by the state,” the party said.

It added that the EU Commission had called on member states to take action to address rising energy and heating costs and said the state should should find ways to bear part of the increased cost of living, with priority for households that are most in need.

“Unfortunately, the Anastasiades-Disy government is making a fuss about other things and has left society unprotected and chooses apathy,” said Akel, whose own policies led to the 2013 crisis.

Meanwhile, a survey published in Politis on Sunday commissioned by the newspaper from consumer data company RetailZoom, found that in September, the average cost of a basket of goods amounted to 39.78 euros, from 38.06 euros in September 2020, an increase of 1.72 euros or 4.3 per cent. Compared to August (40.97 euros) the value of the basket decreased by 2.9 per cent.

The total weighted average price of the items: rice, coffee, sugar, oil, cereals, spaghetti, cheese, yoghurt, honey and milk did not change much, the survey found. The purchase of these products in September 2020 cost 10.45 euros and cost 10.84 euros in September 2021, an increase of 3.7 per cent.

The paper quoted market players as saying that product distributors have been informed by their suppliers abroad that subsequent deliveries of consumer goods and raw materials will be increased by 20 per cent to 40 per cent. Increases in some products, such as pasta, are expected from the coming week. Cyprus is at the mercy of foreign suppliers for products such as wheat as domestic production only comes in at 10 per cent of demand.

Wheat-related goods such as pasta and bread are expected to go up around 20 per cent.

“The imminent increases may not be the last,” the experts warned. The only good news was that the industry expected prices to normalise in the second quarter of 2022.

 

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