22 March 2023,   20:18
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Our people have to buy commodities with almost 100% mark-up, which is categorically unacceptable, in 2 weeks, I need to have a complete picture of the situation on my table with relevant solutions - Irakli Garibashvili

Our people have to buy commodities with almost 100% mark-up, which is categorically unacceptable, in 2 weeks, I need to have a complete picture of the situation on my table with relevant solutions. Such a statement made today the Prime Minister of Georgia.

“I mentioned inflation and wish to once again explain it to our society. Several weeks ago, I instructed the National Competition Agency to scrutinize the commodity pricing. I was wondering to what extent the importers were decent and whether such profit margins charged by importers were reasonable. Findings of the study are truly alarming and I wish to share the preliminary outcome of it with our society. I instructed them to look into the main commodities and it turns out that rice or buckwheat, pasta, sugar, salt, vegetable oil have a 50, 60, 70 or 80% mark-up incorporated within the retail prices. I am not yet referring to the sales price for end consumers. These are afterwards topped with retail price differences. Ultimate mark-up end being 25 or 30%. Thus, our citizens have to pay for goods with a 100% mark-up at the end of the day. It is, of course, categorically unacceptable!

On our side, the Government of Georgia and authorities at large does its best to improve the situation we have in the country and to maintain the achievements. At the same time, such an attitude of importers is absolutely unacceptable. I thus wish to instruct the Ministers of Economy, Finance and Agriculture at the Executive Government Meeting to immediately establish Work Groups and summon all the large importers to start the scrutiny into the issue and ultimately carry out the relevant response measures. Maximum in two weeks, I need to have a complete picture of the situation on my table with relevant solutions! It is absolutely unacceptable to trade commodities with such a huge mark-up.

We remember it well that importers of pharmaceuticals were trading with similar high margins. You may recall the fuss about it, when we resolved the situation. Results were obvious. We opened up for the Turkish sales market and reference prices are now readily available in Georgia. This initiative dropped the prices on medication by 60, 70 or even 80%.

Ultimately, our citizens saved 200 MLN GEL, i.e. out-of-pocket payments were reduced by 200 MLN GEL. That is why, I see a huge room for improvement here again. Unfortunately, the approach of food importers is not right. We need to talk to them and I greatly hope that they will take our calling into consideration and act thereon. One should not get so rich at the expense of people! It is not the right course of action!”, - said Irakli Garibashvili.

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