The House commerce committee heard on Tuesday that the appointment of a consumer commissioner could help prevent profiteering during the price surge and ensure a level playing field.

President of the committee Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis said that the increased cost of key goods is worrying but noted that it is a global phenomenon, not just a Cypriot concern. The surge in energy costs is particularly worrying, he said, and should not be underestimated.

He further stated that the committee has called for a meeting with the European Commissioner’s representative to Cyprus to address them next week, and to inform them of the situation at a European level and what actions are being taken.

He added that the committee would prepare a report on the price rises and the impact on consumers for the plenary.

Over the weekend, the Sunday Mail reported that essential foodstuffs like bread, milk and meat may see a price surge of up to 20 per cent in the coming weeks and months according to industry insiders. Several factors – disrupted supply chains due to Covid-related measures, fuel hikes – have coalesced to form a cascade effect, and no one can hazard a guess as to when the kinks will straighten out.

This past week farmers warned of spiralling costs of animal feed and grains for human consumption. Animal feed has gone up 50 per cent while wheat climbed 30 per cent, impacting the price of bread and pasta. The hikes will have a knock-on effect on milk, cheese, eggs, and meat. Bread and pasta are expected to rise 15-20 per cent, cereals 20 per cent, flour 11 per cent, coffee 7 per cent, and LPG gas bottles 10 per cent.

Data released by the Statistical Service showed that in September, under the category of ‘housing, water supply, electricity and gas’, prices rose 14 per cent, transport by 11.5 per cent, and food and non-alcoholic beverages 1.47 per cent. Overall inflation was also up in September.