E-basket in parliament

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A bill regulating a new digital platform for monitoring retail prices, known as the e-basket, was discussed at the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

The new digital platform aims to support the Consumer Protection Agency’s efforts in monitoring the market and protecting shoppers by offering real-time information on the price of some 350 products at supermarkets.

According to the bill, food retailers with an annual turnover of more than €2 mln must submit prices for the products included in the list.

Smaller businesses can also participate in the platform voluntarily.

A decree issued by the Commerce Ministry will determine the list of products.

The products included in the application are divided into three categories — food, baby items and household items.

The food categories include milk, cheese, yoghurt, bread, olive oil, sunflower oil, sugar, coffee, pulses, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and juices.

Baby goods include diapers, wipes, creams, and milk formula.

The household goods category includes cleaning products, detergents, dishwashing liquid, kitchen and toilet paper, toothpaste, and shampoos.

The bill stipulates that the platform will be updated at 8 am, and price changes throughout the day will be automatically reflected.

Estimates say that the application will be ready to launch in early 2024, and the final list of items will be consolidated by the summer.

The application will be modelled after the Greek version e-Katanalotis (e-Consumer)

And the Director of the Consumer Protection Service has the authority to impose an administrative fine of up to €50,000 and an additional €1,000 every time retailers violate the rules.

The discussion was attended by Commerce Minister George Papanastasiou, the Cyprus Consumers’ Association, the Federation of Employers and Industrialists (OEB), the Cyprus Organisation of Shopkeepers (POVEK) and union federations PEO, SEK, DEOK and PASYDY.