“With the notification of the Government's intention to eliminate VAT, they ran to raise their prices”.
The prices of several of the basic items increased a few days before the zero VAT rate came into force, the Cyprus Consumers Association (KSK) reports in a study regarding the situation, which prevailed before and after the application of the zero VAT rate.
The President of the Cyprus Consumers' Association, Marios Drousiotis, reported to KYPE that these increases were artificial which, as he said, would not be imposed at the specific time period, but later by the suppliers and traders, but with the notification of the Government's intention for zero VAT they “ran to raise their prices” so as not to be accused of raising them after the imposition of the zero VAT rate.
As stated in the updated conclusions, based on the prices that prevailed on the first day of the implementation of the zero VAT, there is an indication in fresh milk that the VAT was not reduced in full, i.e. 5%, but “slightly less”, while in evaporated/sweetened milk, they increased prices a few days before the VAT zero rate came into effect from 10 – 13 cents on 2 of the 5 items on the list.
According to the study, in water, “prices rose a few days before the VAT zero rate from 10 – 24 cents on 5 of the 6 items in the list will come into effect”.
In eggs, it is reported that prices increased a few days before the VAT zero rate came into force, according to 4 cents a dozen.
It is also noted that bread prices increased a few days before the zero VAT rate came into effect from 3 to 4 cents in 4 of the 6 items on the list.
In sanitary napkins, prices increased a few days before the zero VAT rate of 5 cents takes effect, on 1 of the 4 items in the list.
Increases were also observed in baby products a few days before the zero VAT rate came into force, namely in baby diapers, from 33 – 95 cents in 4 of the 6 items on the list, in baby food between 4 – 37 cents in 5 of the 6 items in the list and in baby milk, between 29 – 56 cents in 5 of the 6 items in the list, it is mentioned. they felt that they should make the price comparison in relation to the period before the Government's intention to zero rate VAT on some basic items was announced.
He noted that the May prices coincided with the Consumer Protection Agency's, as he said the Agency reported that 75% of products remained the same and did not increase in price, while the Association said 27% increased, “which means 73% remained at the same levels”.
“However, the difference is that the Service compared with prices in May when the prices had already increased”, he said, adding that, when compared to increased prices, the percentage is less compared to July. He noted that the KSK considered that, “in order to inform the consumer more fully and objectively, we should compare the April prices which were at an unsuspected time”. He explained that the comparison was made with prices in effect around April 15, while the zero-rate VAT reports started on April 17-19. “We said that normally we have to make the comparison with April 15 and not May 3 when the prices had already increased. If we make the comparison with April, the prices of 83% of the products went up”, he added.
When asked about this, he said that the introduction of a zero VAT rate for coffee and sugar should not have been announced so early. , since it will come into force on November 1st, as price increases for these products may follow, as happened with other items.
Mr. Drousiotis said that consumers expected that there would be announcements or positions regarding fuel and electricity subsidies, “which are burning us, instead they announced the extension for six months, which is important, and the addition of the two items”, noting that it is a mockery, for him.
“We expected as consumers, since according to the announcements after the imposition (0% VAT) in the seven categories they said it would be enriched, that the enrichment would be in double digits not two species,” he added.
He expressed the assessment that the announcement was made to disorient public opinion regarding “the big issue” of continuing fuel subsidies.