Head of Cyprus Competition Commission quits

NICOSIA (Reuters) – The head of Cyprus’s Competition Commission has resigned over an inability to operate effectively at current staffing levels, his office said yesterday. Panayiotis Kallis said poor staffing levels rendered the watchdog ineffective in terms of consumer protection. The Competition Commission was to be one of the bodies used by the state to guard against profiteering after Cyprus’s changeover to the euro on January 1 2008. «I cannot remain as chairman of the commission while not being able to respond to the requirements of this position through no fault of my own,» Kallis said in a March 3 resignation letter released by his office yesterday. The commission, responsible for issues ranging from vetting company mergers to probing alleged collusion in setting fuel prices, has been dogged by problems for more than a year. It had been forced to review a number of decisions after the island’s Supreme Court ruled the appointment of one commission member null and void. Cyprus’s adoption of the euro added to its workload this year. In February the Consumers’ Association said it had reported a number of medical practitioners to the Competition Commission for what it termed inexcusable rate increases which coincided with euro adoption. «Consumers justifiably demand the immediate intervention of the commission because of daily increases in the prices of goods and services. Such intervention is not possible at the moment,» Kallis said. His resignation is effective as of March 15.

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