Competition office warns against ‘agreement’ on pastizzi price increase, as PN says government is strong with the weak

Nationalist Party says government ready to take action against pastizzi sellers, but has done nothing about utility bill overcharging

As the competition office warns against pastizzi price-fixing, the PN has said the government was ready to take action against small undertakings, but did nothing about utility bill overcharging
As the competition office warns against pastizzi price-fixing, the PN has said the government was ready to take action against small undertakings, but did nothing about utility bill overcharging

The Office for Competition has warned pastizzi producers, a number of whom reportedly agreed to collectively raise the price of cheesecakes and peacakes by 33%, that prices charged to customers have to be determined independently.

Earlier this week, media reports said that several pastizzi sellers had agreed to increase the price of the popular savoury pastry from €0.30 to €0.40, a 10c rise.

In a reaction to this, the competition office said that, should it consider that any competition laws were infringed upon, it would be “proceeding accordingly” against the undertakings concerned, since price fixing agreements are prohibited under the Competition Act.

This, however, prompted the Nationalist Party to issue a statement criticising the government for being ready to take steps against small-time businesses, but being unwilling to repay money it had itself “stolen” through the overcharging on utility bills.

“The government is ready to take action against pastizzi sellers, when it has itself been robbing people of their money through electricity and water bills for more than three years,” PN deputy leader and energy spokesperson David Agius said, “It has done nothing to remedy the situation where consumers are paying bills which are higher than those permitted by law”.

He pointed out that the party had been sent more than 1,000 utility bills from Maltese families, 80% of which turned out to be for higher amounts than they should have been charged.

“The Nationalist Party will keep insisting that the government sets right this situation immediately, and pays back the money it has stolen from consumers,” it said, underlining that it would be taking all necessary measures to ensure people are no longer ripped off, including by taking the case to court.

A Nationalist government would give the money back to the consumers, it added.

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