Večeřová said that the recent drop in food prices was mainly due to the functioning of the market, not government pressure, which both Výborný and Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) spoke about several times. On the contrary, rising costs led to the increase in prices, she added.
Therefore, in a situation where, according to the latest information, energy prices for companies are expected to rise significantly, food prices cannot be counted on to decrease, she added.
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The president of the Trade and Tourism Association, Tomáš Prouza, noted in the same program that if there is still a great demand for cheaper food, traders must reach for imported goods.
“And any increase in the price of energy will lead to an increase in food prices,” he added. He also pointed out that the further possible increase in costs will put food companies at a great disadvantage against foreign countries. The government’s consolidation package also brings higher income tax, changing employment rules to agreements and other changes, he added.
According to the government’s consolidation package, VAT on food is to be reduced from the current 15 to 12 percent from January. However, Prouza previously pointed out that the consolidation package will move soft drinks to the basic 21 percent rate from the current 15 percent rate.
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In the program, Večeřová once again criticized the comparison of food prices in Germany and the Czech Republic, which was presented by Prime Minister Fiala in his recent video.
In Germany, VAT on food is seven percent, and Poland reduced the rate to zero until the end of this year. This leads to long-term purchases by Czechs abroad, she added.
Energy will become more expensive
The Energy Regulatory Office recently announced that it proposes a year-on-year increase in the regulated component of electricity by 71 percent for households and by roughly 39 percent for gas, and the increase should be even more significant for large customers.
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Business organizations do not like the proposal and, according to the opposition, the situation is a failure of the government.
However, Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) stated that final energy prices next year will rise by a maximum of one percent compared to this year. The final form of the regulated energy component will be clear at the end of November.
Výborný said on Sunday that the situation in energy prices for large customers will still be discussed. He also stated that on December 4 he is to meet for another meeting with representatives of the retail chains.
The price of energy consists of a commercial component, which is determined by suppliers, and a regulated part, which is managed by the state. Next year, the regulated component of electricity should make up about 40 percent of the final price for households, while its share is around 20 percent for gas.
Prouza about the upcoming application
The application focused on food prices, which is being prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, would have negative effects on the sales of small shops, Prouza said.
He pointed out that in Greece, where the ministry wants to be inspired, the application is related to the regulation of food prices, while the government there, according to him, set maximum prices for part of the range
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Minister of Agriculture Marek Výborný informed on Saturday about the plan to launch an application to help consumers navigate food prices. According to him, the application should show what the current average prices of basic food are. In Greece, according to him, the price of food fell by 18 percent.
However, Prouza pointed out that in Greece the government has introduced an obligation for suppliers to offer a five percent discount on selected products. He also noted that price comparison apps or websites already exist in the Czech Republic.
According to the president of the Food Chamber, dinner applications will also harm small food producers. As an example, she cited small bakeries with a large proportion of manual work. “Where the prices are logically higher,” she added.
The President of the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic, Jan Doležal, noted in the same program that a similar topic had already been discussed at the level of the European Union. He pointed out that there could also be a debate about the extent to which discount events are used. “We have learned to be a country of discount events,” he added.
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