News2020.03.26 13:00

Price regulation won't be needed, Lithuanian finance minister says

Despite reported increases in basic food prices, Lithuania's Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka says he does not expect the government will resort to price regulation.

Šapoka says the hike in retail prices is a temporary phenomenon caused by supply chain disruptions.

Read more: Lithuania could regulate prices during quarantine – PM

“I regard it as a short-term effect, because there have been disruptions in supply chains,” the minister told the Žinių Radijas radio station on Thursday morning.

“The situation will stabilise and the government will not need to regulate prices,” he added.

The Cabinet approved on Wednesday a legislative package allowing it to regulate prices during an emergency.

Government officials say the instrument could be used to curb price-gouging on disinfectants and protective gear amid the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

Supermarkets and pharmacies warn that price regulation may give a boost to the gray market.

According to an analysis by the price comparison site, the price of a basket of the cheapest food products rose by 0.1 euro in March compared with February and by 3.67 euros, or 6.9 percent, from a year ago.

Read more: Food price controls an option, though shortages unlikely – Lithuanian PM

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