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Economy

Greece Setting Profit Caps to Stop Business Gouging on Food, Fuel

ATHENS – Businesses in Greece raising prices to take advantage of the worldwide economic fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be reined in under a cap on gross profit margins on food, fuel and other consumer goods.

The Development Ministry made the move to stop gouging and limit how much businesses can make during a time when inflation in January hit 6.2 percent and energy prices were going through the roof.

Sanctions on Russia are driving up the prices to levels that put some goods, especially fuel and food, out of reach for many households struggling during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

Inflation in Greece is at its highest rate in some 21 years, mostly because of the energy costs, with electricity bills jumping 189 percent in a year at a time when prices for staple items have also soared, as well as traded commodities.

Greece plans to legislate gross profit restrictions on goods or services essential for health, food, transport and safety that will kick in when the per unit margin exceeds the figure before Sept. 2021, said Kathimerini.

“I don’t want to tell people lies. The coming period won’t be easy in terms of prices,” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis told Greek radio, pointing to a recent jump in oil and gas prices.

Authorities will step up inspections and impose fines once they uncover profiteering, he added but there were no reports of instances of where it may have happened in Greece.

The measure will be in in place until the end of June, the government also pouring in aid and subsidies to help businesses and workers affected by previous lockdowns and the ongoing effect of the pandemic which has now begun its third year.

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