After months of debate in parliament, MPs on Tuesday wrapped up discussion on the e-basket legislation and decided to take it to the plenum for a vote later this week.
The e-basket is a digital platform listing the prices of 350 consumer goods in different supermarkets. The idea is to enhance price information so that shoppers can find in real-time the best deal on a given item.
On Tuesday, the House commerce committee discussed the government legislation for the last time during a closed-doors session.
Some last-minute changes were made to the text of the bill. Among others, a provision was included that items will be searchable by barcode, not just by the name of the product.
Also, consumers will be able to report a business if the sales price on the premises does not correspond to the price quoted on the digital platform. Complaints are filed to the Consumer Protection Service, which can impose fines. In turn, the business can appeal the decision with the commerce minister.
During a previous discussion, MPs had agreed that the price reporting would concern supermarkets with an annual turnover of at least €5 million – instead of €2 million previously.
Akel MP Costas Costa said this was done so as to get the big supermarkets to compete among themselves.
“Big supermarkets are able to charge lower prices. For example, if they buy 100 crates of beer, the supplier might give them 10 crates for free. Smaller businesses do not have that capability,” Costa told the Cyprus Mail.
The e-basket may also become available as an app on smart phones. But precisely when the platform will get launched, Costa could not say.
“Let’s see if the legislation gets passed in the plenum in the first place,” he remarked.
The e-basket will cover three categories of consumer goods: food, baby products and household articles.
The first category includes items such as milk, cheese, olive oil, sugar, coffee, vegetables, meat, eggs, fruit and juices.
The second includes nappies, baby wipes and baby formula. The third category includes household cleaning products, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, kitchen rolls, toothpaste and shampoo.
The legislation for the e-basket got the nod from the cabinet back in April.