The issue has not yet been brought up in the Parliament, despite the initial pressures to table the bill
Of Maria Herakleous
The process for setting up a product retail price recording and tracking platform, e-kalathi, is on hold. In his statements yesterday, Mr. Papanastasiou talked about implementing the specific digital tool by the end of the summer. An admittedly bold commitment, considering the procedures that should precede its implementation. It should, for example, pass through Parliament, and then proceed with the bidding process, registration and preparation of the application software. The discussion of the bill has not yet started in the competent committee, despite the fact that at the first session of the Trade Committee in the presence of the new Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Giorgos Papanastasiou on March 7, the need was urgently raised by the members of the Committee , to proceed immediately with the preparation of the e-kalathi bill. The bill was prepared and passed by the cabinet on April 21 and then submitted to Parliament. But it hasn't been discussed yet. According to information from “K”, the bill will move on to the agenda of the Committee as soon as possible. In any case, the goal set by the competent Service (Consumer Protection Service) is for the measure to be implemented by the end of the year.
Regarding the products that will be included in the e-kalathi will be decided based on their sales volume. So it will be the most basic and most popular products in every household. The list of products will be decided by the minister Giorgos Papanastasiou and it is estimated that in the first phase there will be around 600 products. This number is estimated to increase after the implementation of the measure. The data has already been collected on which products are the most popular in terms of sales volume – baby food, milk, dairy, cereals are assumed to be included in the products. In its first app e-kalathi will include codes from branded products. A supermarket chain focussing on private label products seems to be emerging here. Around 400 common codes with the other supermarkets have been identified, which will be used to include this particular chain in the application. However, the private label trend has been rising significantly in recent years and is being boosted by inflation, hence it is a category with an audience, which should find a place in e-kalathi as well. This is recognized by the competent service, which is oriented towards the inclusion of private labels, albeit more modestly. In the list of products of the live price observatory, the products of the fruit shop departments will also be included. You will also be given the option to compare the basket as a whole, as well as for each product separately. Thus, the consumer will be able to know in advance how much it will cost him to shop at his preferred supermarket, however he will be able to exclude a product, for which, according to the data in e-kalathi, he finds at a lower price, in another point of sale.
What is emphasized is that this is not an emergency measure. It is here to stay, says the director of the Consumer Service, Konstantinos Karagiorgis, and aims to promote transparency and better information for consumers about market prices.