Starting tomorrow, prices are unfreezing: There will be no price increases, the standard will discipline traders
At the moment when the measures end, new dilemmas begin: will prices flare up again, but world prices are against this logic, because the price of electricity often drops to 40 to 50 euros per megawatt-hour (approximately the pre-crisis level), the price of natural gas fell by 300 percent, and the prices of grain, flour, fertilizers are also on the downward trend...
Starting tomorrow, the prices of all products that had limited prices will be unfrozen, and this will mark the end of the measure that many condemned as incompatible with a market economy. As of March 1 of this year, the Government considered that until the end of April there would be enough time to stop the rampant destruction of a dozen basic food products, part of hygiene products, as well as several types of fruits and vegetables. Although the measure received another "free" month until the end of May, despite the announcements, the Cabinet was unable to cap the prices of meat and cured meat products, which remained too high for the majority of citizens.
The Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, decided that the period of frozen prices will not continue, because inflation has decreased drastically, so in June it will be lower than ten percent?! At the moment when the measures end, new dilemmas begin: will prices flare up again? World prices are against this logic, as the price of electricity often drops to 40 to 50 euros per megawatt-hour (approximately the pre-crisis level), the price of natural gas has fallen by 300 percent, and grain prices are also on the downward trend. the flour, the fertilizers...
Opposing views on thawing
The measure basically stopped the rampage of only the most basic food products, but it should continue this summer as well, because producers and traders will try to make up for the three-month losses, Marijana Lonchar Velkova from the Consumers' Organization told "Sloboden Pechat".
- In order to see the real picture, at least six months should pass, the freezing period is too short, although it had its positive side. The fact is that the prices remained high, and only a small part were restrained. No one talks about the price of cheeses, cheeses, chemical products, meat, salami... It should be said that the maximization happened at the moment when some products reached a high level, such as bread, which was sold for 70 denars. That's why I think that the measure should continue this summer as well - states Loncar Velkova and adds that she is disappointed by the ugly image caused by the speculations with trade margins.
The citizens did not see much air from the two months that the measure for the frozen prices of vegetables and fruits lasted. After only a few days of the first capping, the authorities gave in to the pressure of the importers, so they corrected them minimally, but despite that, the green markets and markets sold at double the prices or did not sell at all. The long-hidden fact came to the surface that years ago, fruit and vegetable importers managed to sell us fruits and vegetables at high prices with false import invoices. To brag about low prices of agricultural products is not a good idea, commented for "Sloboden Pechat", agronomist Risto Velkov, president of "Agrosoyuz Strumica" for "Sloboden Pechat".
- Politicians should not do marketing with the prices of vegetables, because that is not something to be happy about. If the fall in the prices of agricultural products continues, the agricultural areas will decrease proportionally, which will increase the country's imports. Foreign fruits and vegetables crowded out domestic ones. In order for the farmer to be satisfied at the moment, he should have 50 denars left from each kilogram of tomatoes or peppers - points out Velkov.
Bakers are adamant that basic bread will not become more expensive
There is no need to fear, the price of basic bread will not increase even after the end of the government measure, Goran Mališić, president of the Bakery Industry Group at SKSM, is decisive. He told "Sloboden Pechat" that all inputs entering the bakery industry have been reduced by 50 percent. The price of electricity is at last year's level, there is enough grain and flour, and other repromaterials have stabilized, and it will remain so this summer, Mališić hopes.
- The Government's measure to freeze the price of bread caused us enormous damage, which now that the prices have stabilized, we are trying to compensate. There is no need to extend the measure, we should be left to work on the market - adds Malishic. The president of the bakery group honestly answers the question of whether their image as producers has been damaged after the three days when they left the citizens without bread.
- The choice was to continue working at a loss, because even without the government measure we would have closed due to the stock market developments. But after the avalanche of negative comments from the public, we had to continue working to our detriment. Fortunately, after a month there was stabilization, so we could take a breather - explains Mališić.
The three curiosities of the measures
For the first time in the history of Macedonia, it was not possible to buy bread for three whole days, and the flour also disappeared from the shelves. With this "white" strike, the bakers wanted to show disagreement with the government's measures, and the public welcomed their move with a knife. Another curiosity of the frozen prices were the "unannounced" checks on the markets by the Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, the Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bektesi and the market inspector Goran Trajkovski. The goal was twofold – self-conviction and convincing the citizens that the merchants respect the measures. The citizens were also surprised by the public presentation of the names of the trade chains and importers, who earned criminal charges for disobeying the measures, but despite the high fines, some of the importers put a key to the warehouses and delivered a minimum of vegetables and fruits to the trade.