The government is setting a ceiling on the gross profit margin on products and services considered necessary for the health, food, transport and security of consumers, according to an amendment Development and Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis tabled on Thursday in Parliament.
The maximum profit margin allowed will apply up to June 30, and those violating it will face fines of between 5,000 and 1 million euros. There will also be a fine of €50,000 for anyone who distorts, hides or fails to produce the information the competent authorities require.
The regulation has a general catchment, in the sense that there is no specific ceiling (rate or price) and that there is no reference to specific products or services, as had been the case with the pandemic, when healthcare products and food was covered.
The government’s argument is that this way a wide range of products and services can enter the restrictions as soon as authorities identify any profiteering. The ceiling is defined as the profit margin per unit from the sale of products or services that applied before September 1, 2021.
The competent agencies for receiving complaints and identifying any violations are the General Secretariat for Commerce and Consumer Protection, the Market Monitoring Agency (DIMEA) and the competent inspection agencies of the regional authorities.
The amendment comes after the new major hikes in the prices of electricity, oil, wheat and a series of other raw materials, which are associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as concerns over the February inflation rate that may have reached 7%.
Notably the wholesale rate of electricity averaged on Thursday at €362.3 per megawatt-hour, which constitutes a 28.6% jump in just one day, and a 65% increase from Monday. Likewise, natural gas rates have soared, with the benchmark rate of the TTF Neutral Gas Price Index reaching €198/MWh for month-long contracts, up 20% in one day. Oil also rose, posting a 5.2% rise to $116.3 per barrel.