The outcome of the meeting between Agriculture Minister Marek Výborný (KDU-ČSL) and food retail chains has left opposition parties and the ruling Pirates and STAN disgruntled. Despite promises, retailers plan on increasing food prices next year. The antimonopoly office should address a move many politicians believe in. The government is set to address the situation, too.
From the perspective of the Ministry of Finance, there is no reason for the increase in food prices. “The government reduced the VAT on food by three percentage points from 15 to 12 percent in response to high prices as part of the consolidation package. It is, therefore, legitimate to expect this reduction to be reflected in the final food prices for customers,” says ministry spokesperson Petr Habáň.
Chairman of the Pirates, Jakub Michálek, sees the situation as a result of the insufficient activity of the antimonopoly office. Retail chains explain their move with the increase in energy prices, the rise in transportation costs due to tolls, and the growth in wage costs.
STAN MP Ondřej Lochman, who would revise the law according to which the office operates, agrees with Michálek. “Behind high food prices is a monopolized market from raw materials to sale,” Lochman tells Novinky.
In a similar vein, Deputy Chairman of STAN Lukáš Vlček was angered by the stance of the retail chains. He urges Czech consumers to focus more on buying meat, dairy products, vegetables, and bread from local producers. “As STAN, we support local stores and village shops thanks to a subsidy title from the Ministry of Industry, and in regional organizations, we try to ensure that local producers supply to schools and other facilities,” adds Vlček.