App to combat profiteering

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The Commerce Ministry will introduce an online application to stamp out profiteering by supermarkets and bakeries while offering consumers real-time information on the prices of 1,500 products.

Commerce Minister George Papanastasiou delivered the news at a meeting of the House Commerce Committee.

“It is a simple tool that will promote transparency.

“The application will present the price of products without any intervention, allowing consumers to compare,” said Papanastasiou.

He added that the ministry would be concentrating on reducing the cost of energy, which will directly impact consumers’ shopping baskets, as production costs will come down.

Ministry official Aliki Iordanou said that through the application, consumers will have access to real-time data regarding the prices of products at supermarkets and bakeries.

She noted that the tool would be designed based on a bill including terms and conditions for which the consultation has already been completed.

The ministry consulted with trade unions, the Supermarket Association, employers, and the Cyprus Consumer Association.

The bill is expected to be tabled by the ministry in the coming weeks.

The legal framework will allow the ministry’s Consumer Protection Service to secure information on the prices of up to 1500 products from supermarkets with a turnover of €8 mln or more and from bakeries with a turnover of over €1 mln.

According to Iordanou, the Household Basket application will offer consumers information on the prices of products in the market.

“Consumers will enter the product they are interested in, and the application will list the prices listed for supermarkets on the database,” said Iordanou.

“They will also receive advice on where it would be cheaper to shop for the said products, taking into consideration the distance, fuel and time needed to get to the supermarket”.

According to Iordanou, the application will be like the ‘e-Consumer’ mobile app introduced by authorities in Greece.

The platform will include foodstuff, personal hygiene and cleaning products, fresh produce and more.

The Commerce Ministry said the application should be ready to launch in September.

MPs asked the ministry to table the bill within the next month to pass it before the summer.

Iordanou said the consumer protection service runs a monthly report on the average prices of 250 products at 400 supermarkets, bakeries, and groceries.