Nearly 3,000 officials carry out price inspections at thousands of businesses


ISTANBUL

Some 2,800 officials coordinated by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance have carried out inspections to see if businesses have cut prices in line with a recent reduction in value added tax (VAT) on staple foods.

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Dubbed “the inflation brigades”, which include two tax inspectors and two other specialists, have already made visits to around 10,400 sites, with a particular focus on the prices of meat, poultry products and eggs.

Earlier this month the government slashed VAT on staple foods from 8% to 1% in a bid to rein in runaway inflation and called on businesses to follow suit and cut prices.

The task force managers check whether or how prices change along the chain between wholesale, production and retail sales.

They also check businesses’ inventory and compare monthly invoices to see average selling prices.

The number of price checks carried out will be increased to three times a day and inspections will be intensified in the provinces which are the main production bases, such as Konya, Balıkesir and Kayseri.

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The authorities carried out inspections mainly in food, automobile, appliance, construction and textile enterprises.

The teams also examine whether the companies, which are engaged in production activities, have excessive goods in their inventories. They ask companies in the food industry, which do not store goods in warehouses, whether they deliver goods directly from producers to consumers.

About 40% of all these inspections took place in Istanbul, the country’s most populous city and its financial and commercial center. About 400 to 500 officials carry out checks in the city. To date, they have been able to visit 600 places per day, but in the coming period some 2,000 businesses may be inspected daily.

Separately, Commerce Ministry officials have been inspecting wholesale fruit and vegetable markets since Jan. 10 in 18 provinces.

The VAT cut and inspections came after consumer prices rose 11.1% in January on a monthly basis, for an annual inflation rate of 48.7%. Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 10.9% month-on-month and 55.6% year-on-year in January.

According to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), the prices of vegetables and fruits increased by 20.8% in the first month of the year from December 2021 and the annual increase of these items rose to almost 44%.

Turkey,

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