ATHENS, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Greece's Development Minister Kostas Skrekas announced a set of measures on Wednesday aimed at combating "greedflation," the practice of exploiting inflation to generate excessive profits, the Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
"Although inflation has decreased in recent months, inflationary pressures remain in certain categories of goods and mainly food products. As a result, Greek households are having a hard time," Skrekas told a press briefing in Athens.
According to the latest Eurostat data, Greece's annual inflation rate was 3.5 percent this August, and dropped from 13 percent in July to 10.8 percent in the foods category, he said.
Although production and transport costs that had skyrocketed in the past two years due to the energy crisis have decreased lately, consumers still do not see substantially lower prices on certain products on the shelves, the minister added.
Therefore, in order to protect consumers from price gouging by producers and middlemen during this inflationary period, the government introduced a mandatory shelf of basic goods in supermarkets with staple prices decreased by at least 5 percent for at least six months. The reference prices of products are those displayed on Sept. 19.
The government will also step up inspections throughout the supply chain to monitor prices in supermarkets, control profit margins and boost transparency and competition, he said.
From now on, large retailers will have to regularly inform the ministry about their suppliers' pricelists and about any changes in the retail prices of essential goods, such as fruits and vegetables. Strict fines will be imposed in cases of profiteering.
Citizens are asked to participate actively in the government's efforts. They will be able to submit complaints to the authorities about unjustifiable price hikes of basic food products through a dedicated complaint line and a special mobile application.
"Faced with the phenomenon of greedflation, we believe that many suppliers will be forced by the new measures to reduce the prices of products," Skrekas said.