PM António Costa
PM's interview with CMTV to be screened next week. Image: José Coelho/ Lusa

PM “wants ASAE to investigate” high prices charged for certain foods

Says increases, even taking inflation into account, are “difficult to understand”

Portugal’s prime minister António Costa has thrown a new curved ball into the cost-of-living debate.

He has told an interview with CMTV – to be broadcast after Christmas – that he wants ASAE (the authority for food safety and economic surveillance) to “see what is happening in the chain of food prices justifying the enormous increases registered”.

The secretary-general of the PS Socialist party admitted that he himself doesn’t know the cost of a kilo of rice, but that he has “the notion that we all have that staple foods have increased – and increased a great deal more than the inflationary average”.

Mr Costa gave the examples of certain types of fish that have “increased 70%” and other basic foods that have gone up by roughly 30%.

“What justifies such a great distinction?” He queried.

According to the story today in CMTV’s ‘sister outlet’ Correio da Manhã, the PM actually believes investigation by ASAE, on its own, will not be enough “because the price rise is not only in distribution, it is throughout the chain, and it is necessary to understand what is happening…”

As the paper explains, “the prime minister pointed out that measures have been taken to mitigate these (rising) costs – like for instance the removing of IVA on animal feed and fertilizers”.

The PM’s bottom line is that yes, “there is a component of inflation”. But there may also be a “let’s take advantage of this” too…

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