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Prices growth in Belarus: People's reaction

Price increases was one of the serious topics in the President's State of the Nation Address. The groundlessness of overcharging causes concern not only among buyers. The President is also displeased with that. Sugar prices have risen without any reasons, believes Alexander Lukashenko, and this could eventually stop domestic plants if cheaper goods from Russia pour into Belarus. The Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade was instructed to look into the issue. And there are many reasons for this, as follows from the stories of our correspondents.

The statistics are impartial: the growth rate of inflation for two months was less than one and a half percent; the forecast for the first half of the year was no more than five percent. Against the backdrop of this positive picture, Belarusians often face other prices.

Roman Napreev, businessman, restaurateur:
Prices for the main raw materials (same meat, chicken, fish) are growing. For me it is not very clear, because the cow eats our mixed fodder, our grass, grown on the Belarusian land. Electric power is Belarusian and it should not grow in prices. Why do we have such a huge growth? It is unclear. By and large, no one talks to us.

Gomel citizens:
Most likely, someone is cashing in on the situation, because I don't see any reason for price increases.

Whom to ask? There is no one to ask. Prices have risen. If you want you take it and if you don't, then don't take it.

In the realities of free market pricing, the issue would seem to be superfluous. After all, the only regulator of price increases are buyers themselves. Everything costs exactly as much as we are ready to pay for it. But this is in theory. In reality, those who write prices are driven by the desire to earn more.

Representatives of a company:
Is it now possible to raise prices to heaven? Our company studies consumer demand on each shop format.

Don't you like how much bread, milk or sugar costs? Do you think that the seller or manufacturer uses his position on the market for personal gain? Then call the hotline of the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade.

Elena Sinelnikova, Head of Methodology, Analysis and Forecasting Department, Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus:
We need to be aware of not only statistical information, information from trade networks and producers, but also to know the opinion of ordinary people. We receive appeals against rise in prices for medicines, utility tariffs and various other fields.

Belarusians ask why the same goods at different shops are different. There are cases when price tags do not correspond to the expected price, and in some retail outlets, price tags differ from what sellers ask at cash desks.

In small settlements, there are special price realities. Residents of this resort village in the suburbs of Gomel have almost completely boycotted local shops.

Locals:
I do not go here at all. Prices are probably higher.

Bananas, apples. There are 14 or 19 per kilo but in the city we see 9, 8 rubles. It's very expensive. Sour cream, milk.

How do we get out of the situation? We go to the city.

Each case, of course, requires careful analysis. All the information received on the hotline will be checked by the end of April.

Igor Fomin, Deputy Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus:
Pricing or antitrust law is often violated. There are strong market players, so-called dominant organizations. So it is they who determine the situation in the markets, including the price. As part of the law on counteracting monopolistic activities, the behavior of these dominant organizations in the market will be monitored. We will watch them.

Belarusians should pay more attention to their money and not hesitate to ask again what they pay for each time.

The main principle that Belarusians need to understand: it is today the buyer who has the last word. It is we who every day vote with money for a particular product, trading network or manufacturer. The history of market relations knows many examples of how public opinion could force unscrupulous giants to change their behavior.

Prices growth in Belarus: People's reaction