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Retailers Who Don’t Comply With Gov’t Price Fixing Policy Can Be Fined Up to 3 Million Ft., Face Store Closure

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Details on the price fixing policy announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last Wednesday were published in the Friday edition of the Official Gazette. According to the government decree, six products, crystal sugar, wheat flour, chicken breast fillet, sunflower cooking oil, pork leg, and regular 2.8% UHT cow’s milk will be have to be sold from February 1 in every store at the exact prices that these products were sold at in the store on October 15, 2021.

If any of these products were on sale on October 15, the store can apply its last non-discounted gross retail price before the item was put on sale.

Neither shopkeepers nor economic experts are fond of the measure, claims Népszava, which is being officially justified as an attempt to “prevent the harmful effects of market disturbances” and will remain in place until May 1, nearly a month after elections are held on April 3.

László Molnár, CEO of GKI Gazdaságkutató Zrt., said that the government’s price freeze won’t have an appreciable effect on reducing inflationary pressure, and will only mean a savings of around 500-1,000 Ft. (US $1.60-$3.20) per month for the average person.

The decree also requires that stores offer the average daily quantity of all six products for each day of the week in 2021, and they must also post a notice to consumers about the measure. As the decree states:

A notice of the appropriate content and form as specified by the minister responsible for general political coordination shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the business, or published on a website’s home page for companies dealing with parcel delivery.

Antal Rogán, from the Prime Minister’s Office, is the minister responsible for general political coordination, notes Népszava.

Businesses that violate the provisions of the decree can receive a fine between 50,000-3,000,000 Ft. ($160-$9,620), while stores with repeated violations can be forced to close their doors for periods ranging from a day up to six months. [Népszava]

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