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Government’s ‘dogmatism’ causes rising prices says Akel at rallies

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The government has a “moral responsibility” to protect society and the economy from inflation because it is partly responsible for the increase of prices of essential goods, Akel general secretary Stephanos Stephanou said on Saturday.

The leader of the main opposition party was speaking during a protest demanding measures to curb inflation at Ledra street in Nicosia. Similar protests were held by the party earlier on Saturday at Kennedy square in Paphos, at Peo offices in Limassol and at Derhynia roundabout in Paralimni, the Cyprus News Agency reported.

Stephanou said the government has a serious share of responsibility for the increase in prices, including that of electricity, and has a moral responsibility to stop it. This is more necessary now, when a further surge is expected due to the war in Ukraine, he said.

“It is its incompetence that obliges consumers to pay tens of millions of euros in fines for pollutants,” the party leader said, adding the state allows cartels “to profiteer in fuel and other goods”.

The government’s “ideological dogmatism” leaves the country unprotected in electricity, grain and fuel, he added.

Akel has submitted proposals that are concrete, feasible, effective and directly applicable, its leader said.

He gave the example of the party’s proposal to reduce VAT on electricity, which was passed into law by a large majority of the parliament. However, he added, the government not only did not implement it, but sent it to the Supreme Court.

Akel also proposed to end the double taxation on fuel as well as the fee for renewable energy sources present on electricity bills, the VAT on pollutants and instead use the funds for targeted subsidies on electricity bills, reducing VAT on basic goods and setting a cap on essentials.

But there is a “lack of political will” to implement the proposals, as the government “only warmly embraces the banks and big interests”.

He added that it is a matter of priorities, it is a matter of politics and philosophy.

Every time the banks want incentives, the state is able to provide them, Stephanou said, but when consumers demand protection the government declares inability.

“We will continue to push the government to take measures to tackle the poverty,” he added.

 

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