Azerbaijanis complain about a 'creeping' rise in prices for foodstuffs
The price of food products in Baku shops have risen slowly and barely noticeably for the majority of shoppers. “Every week, 3-5 gepiks (2-3 US cents) have been added to different products. For low-income families, a considerable amount will have been spent by the end of the month,” complained Asya Ismailzade, a 54-year-old resident of Bakikhanov settlement.
“For example, a month ago eggs from commercial sources cost 11 gepiks, but today 15. And the cost of free-range eggs is as high as 24.”
The chairman of the Poultry Society, Aydin Veliyev, denies producers’ involvement in the rising prices for eggs.
“According to my data, commercial suppliers sell 360 eggs at a price of 42 manat, about 11 gepiks (6.9 US cents) per egg, so the price increase lies with the businessmen. Products pass from hand to hand while the suppliers get blamed, even though the supplier has nothing to do with the final sale of the product. On the contrary, we comply with all regulations and are looking for ways to export the eggs,” the APA quoted Veliyev as saying.
About two months ago, Azerbaijani media and the public were concerned about the price of butter which had doubled in a year, surpassing many other products which had also risen in price. Officials explained that it was due to the rising prices of oil worldwide. More information on the topic is available here:
In early November, the Azerbaijani government decided to reduce the import duties on oil to a third of the price. This decision doesn’t take effect until 7 December however, so the price of oil has not just remained the same, but has been increasing by several percent every week.
“Most citizens can no longer afford to buy expensive butter from Germany or New Zealand, they prefer oil from Ukraine,” wrote the Yeni Musavat newspaper.
Baku resident and shopper Mubariz Ragimov thinks the reason for the increase in prices is the approaching new year:
“Every year, on the eve of Novruz and New Year, sellers try their luck and inflate prices.”
Expert economist Parviz Heydarov refuted the relationship between the increased prices and the upcoming holidays.
“The increase in prices is a worldwide trend, but there are other subjective factors of influence in Azerbaijan. High customs duties for example, the existence of monopolies, domestic inflation and various other factors. The holidays have nothing to do with it,” the site moderna.az cited Heydarov.
Members of the National Assembly and pro-government organizations haven’t remained indifferent to the problem. Speaking during the discussion of the 2018 Azerbaijan draft budget, MP Yevda Abramov said that the Ministry of Economy should take appropriate measures to prevent price increases.
“We have a problem in this country – if prices go up, they never go down,” the deputy said.
Six years ago, a sharp rise in the price of eggs required intervention at the presidential level. In a meeting of Baku’s executive authorities, Ilham Aliyev said: “Eggs are a product from local means of production, therefore, why should the price rise several times? I have given instructions to investigate the issue. There are signs of a monopoly here, in the world this is called ‘cartel collusion’. Price gouging for eggs will be punished, and perpetrators will have criminal charges brought against them.”
After that, prices immediately went down again.