Belarus announces price freeze
OREANDA-NEWS The president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko has banned any price increases across all business sectors amid spiraling inflation, his press service reported on Thursday.
He urged officials to enforce the measure immediately, “Starting today. Not tomorrow, but today. So that they don’t jack up the prices in 24 hours,” Lukashenko stressed.
He explained his decision by saying that prices in the country were “off the charts.” “They’re pushing the ceiling,” he said.
According to the Belarusian Statistics Committee inflation in August hit 13.8% and is expected to rise by another 1.6% in September. The skyrocketing cost of raw materials and fuel sent food prices up along the entire chain, starting from agricultural producers and ending with retail outlets, the organization said.
The new regulations also prohibit registering new products with little change in their consumer properties. Hiking prices as a result of cancelling discounts and sales are also banned with government watchdog organizations allowed to terminate the license of those who violate the rules.
Lukashenko has also issued a dire warning to those who try to close their business following the order. “God forbid that some store would leave the market, or close, or some office or hole-in-the-wall and the rest of them. God forbid they try to leave. You will answer for this,” he told government officials.
The regulations are the toughest in the CIS states and one of the strictest in the world, according to Belarusian Prime Minister, Roman Golovchenko.
The country also announced large-scale price monitoring. The Belarusian State Audit Office has warned of stringent penalties including criminal charges if price hikes are discovered.