The ‘e-basket’ law will most likely be introduced by autumn or the end of the year, the head of the consumers’ protection association Constantinos Karagiorgis said on Thursday, after businesses and MPs gave an initial bill the thumbs down two days ago.
He added that this goal is possible if parliament will be able to pass it into law in a reasonable timeframe.
Meanwhile, the head of the Pancyprian Consumers Union Loucas Aristodemou called on MPs and supermarkets to discuss the bill openly and with positivity, focusing0 on transparency so that the consumer can have a choice based on their finances.
The bill regulates the recording and monitoring of retail prices of products, the process of collecting and monitoring the retail prices of consumer products by the Consumer Protection Service with the aim of enabling the implementation of a digital tool, which will provide the consumer with price transparency, price comparison, and immediate information on prices and availability of important household products.
Karagiorgis said that there was a first debate in the house commerce committee on the principle of the bill submitted by the government, stressing that the service and the ministry of trade have no intention of changing the philosophy of the legislation submitted to the parliament and an invitation is expected from the parliament to continue discussion.
He added: “If any clarifications are needed, we can provide them, either during the discussion of the bill, or in a private meeting, but the philosophy of the proposed law is very simple.”
Commenting further, he said that the most important provision of the bill creates the obligation for companies to send their data daily, noting that issues such as product codes and other issues that arise will be regulated during construction of the online platform.
He added that it is important that similar and not dissimilar products are compared, expressing the belief that “this is a tool that will provide transparency, it has value, and we insist that it should go forward.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the discussion in parliament further, Aristodemou said that during the last debate at the house committee, the impression was created that neither Disy nor Akel want the bill passed into law.
According to him, Disy seems to be in favour of the supermarkets’ position, which is that each supermarket creates its own basket.
For Akel, he said that their disagreement seems to lie in the fact that the small shopkeepers’ union, Povek, was not invited to the public consultation.
He added that the two similar bills submitted to parliament, one by the previous government and the second by the present government are identical and their difference is that the previous one provided for 1,250 -1,500 products and was called the household basket and the new one provides for 500-600 products, which will be widdled down to 300 products.
He said that there were also reactions to the previous bill for this and during the previous administration despite its submission to parliament, after the first debate it disappeared.
Regarding the new bill, he said that during the first discussion on the matter in the house committee, which took place in the presence of the Minister of Trade, the supermarkets raised an issue regarding the provision for the €8 million turnover , which was deemed an excessive amount for supermarkets and thus in the new text of the bill submitted to the parliament, the amount was reduced to €2 million turnover.