The Minister of Development, Kostas Skrekas, spoke about the accuracy and the fines that have been imposed on businesses that do not comply with the law on unfair profit.
“The fines we imposed in the summer were collected over a period of 20 days so that the companies that violated also received the discount. As for the €2 million fines, one million for each company that breached the Unfair Profit Act, one company will pay the fine and then appeal. The fines are collected and I must tell you that of the 7.5 million fines that have been imposed during the year, 4.5 have been confirmed or paid to the tax office. The point is not only to collect the fines, the aim is not to harm the companies. The goal is for businesses to adapt to the dictates of the law passed by our government on unfair profiteering and for households to see the prices of products drop on the shelves,” he told MEGA.
According to many reports, the prices of the same products of specific companies are higher in Greece than in other European countries. On this Mr. Skrekas commented: “I will tell you why you may see products being cheaper on a supermarket shelf abroad than in Greece. First, average values are not taken into account here. In Greece, deodorants are most often promotional. So, on the one hand, this gives the consumer the feeling that he is shopping for something at a discount and attracts him to buy it, but on the other hand, this also involves a degree of misleading the consumer, because the permanent price on the shelf should be significantly lower, i.e. the permanent value. We want to achieve a low price for households every day. That’s why we launched the 5% permanent price reduction initiative.”
Regarding the signs that should be placed in supermarkets and the criticism that is heard that they have not been placed in enough supermarkets, the minister revealed that “From Monday DIMEA checks will begin in the supermarket stores to determine if the permanent reduction signs have been placed price as due or not. Otherwise the fine will be heavy. We carry out checks all the time and compare the profit margin that companies have in 2023 compared to 2021. If we see that they are making more profit compared to 2021 we come and impose a fine. The penalty is calculated as follows: we double the difference of the extra profit”, adding that 629 product codes already have a permanent price reduction in supermarkets.
“The rise in prices was not solely due to greed. The increase in prices in the previous two years happened because we had objective conditions, for example we had a war – now we have a second war – and there was also an energy crisis. The prices have decreased, durum wheat has gone to 28 cents from 32 cents, that is, it has “fallen” by 4 cents, the prices of bread and toast in supermarkets have decreased”, added the minister.
“We push to reduce the prices on the shelves as much as possible, we have checks for unfair profiteering, we impose fines and prices are corrected, we have the “permanent price reduction” initiative and we also have the household basket that is updated every week,” he said, adding that “Six more multinational companies are being audited and the audits are not going to stop. We will have no hesitation in imposing fines on anyone who violates the law. We don’t want to harm companies, we want to be a liberal government that respects the laws of the state”.
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