The commerce ministry on Wednesday defended its e-kalathi proposal, which has faced criticism, saying that it is one of the many measures it has taken to tackle the impact of inflation.

This came a day after a discussion on the matter at the House commerce committee left MPs from Disy and Diko split, with some questioning the effectiveness of the platform in eliminating unfair competition between smaller and larger businesses.

In a written statement, the ministry said that through the consumer protection service, it “carries out systematic checks on the market and promotes measures to mitigate the negative effects of inflation on households” with the aim to support consumers “especially in difficult economic conditions like the ones we have been experiencing for the last three years”.

The statement supported that e-kalathi, the electronic shopping basket app, “will be an important tool for improving transparency in the market, as it will provide consumers with daily, instant information about the prices of basic household items” and allow them to compare prices for a variety of different household products across supermarkets.

This will offer multiple benefits to consumers as they will be able to use the app to do market research at their own convenience, avoiding the hassle and cost of traveling between supermarkets, it added.

The potential benefits of e-kalathi’s implementation were also detailed in a study conducted by the consumer protection service last week, which was also presented to the House commerce committee on Tuesday by director Konstantinos Karagiorgis.

The study looked at 44 household products, with two separate shopping baskets created for different supermarkets, each including the cheapest and most expensive products on each shelf.

The study showed that the differences between the cheap and expensive baskets was €46,67 (a deviation of 35 per cent) and €56,87 (40 per cent deviation) at two different supermarkets, “showing that with careful choices there is the possibility for households of saving a considerable amount of money”.

“With e-kalathi, consumers will be able to conduct similar research and make informed and more beneficial purchases,” it added.

To this end, the ministry announced that it will continue its efforts to implement the platform, which will be “an important and useful tool in the hands of Cypriot consumers”.