While in neighboring countries they make decisions on limiting bread prices, in Bosnia and Herzegovina everything remains at the level of proposals. Will there be a restriction on the price of bread in our country and when?
While a decision was made in neighboring Serbia, which prescribed the maximum retail price of bread, the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose wallets are getting thinner, are still waiting for this measure. The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina tried to limit the price of bread through a margin limit that is in effect until the end of the year, while in the Republic of Srpska they rely on the solidarity of traders.
“When there was a reduction in the prices of fuel, i.e. energy products and flour as it is now, both were reduced, the prices of bakery products remained the same, some even appeared with a new price”, points out Jovan Vasilić from the Consumers’ Association “Zvono” from Bijeljina.
The position of the bakers is known from before, that they do not support price restrictions. They see the solution in abolishing VAT on basic foodstuffs, or introducing a differentiated VAT rate.
“We know how to set it up and we will form it, and you control the margin. After all, it is known how easily it can be regulated, abolish VAT on bread and regulate everything in one move. It is very necessary, it is an inevitability that will sometimes have to come into force,” says the owner of the bakery chain Njegoslav Zagorac.
The idea of abolishing VAT on bread is also attractive to citizens.
Limiting the price, abolishing it, differentiated VAT rate or any third solution is difficult to implement in practice, say economists.
“We are a highly corrupt country, just introducing a differentiated rate on bread would mean that everything would be buns, there would be no bread. We are prone to embezzlement. Every lump-sum decision only causes damage, you can limit the price of which bread, we have 350 types of bread, on which you will limit, when the price is limited, it will spread to others”, emphasizes economist Svetlana Cenić.
Although the price of bread is at a standstill for now, no one can guarantee with certainty that it will remain so. Citizens say that they are definitely at a loss because the loaves are getting smaller.
In September 2023, consumer prices in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina increased by 0.4 percent on average compared to the previous month.
Prices have increased in clothing and footwear by 3.5 percent, transportation and education by 1.7 percent each, furniture, household appliances and regular home maintenance by 0.6 percent, alcoholic beverages and tobacco and Housing, water, electricity, gas and other energy products by 0.3 percent each, other goods and services by 0.2 percent, healthcare and Restaurants and hotels by 0.1 percent each
In September 2023, compared to the same month last year, prices increased by 2.4 percent (annual inflation), according to data from the Federal Bureau of Statistics.
The Decision of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina came into force, which prescribes retail and wholesale margins on certain items in stores. Inspectors in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina check whether the decisions made are respected. The prescribed penalty for a legal entity is one thousand and 250 marks and for a business entity 500 marks. BHRT has asked the citizens, do you notice the stagnation of prices and are the measures implemented by the authorities sufficient?
The decision refers to 15 items, mostly basic foodstuffs, where margins may not exceed 5 percent in wholesale and 8 percent in retail. The inspectors are in control from today.
ELMIR RAMIĆ, chief market inspector:
We did certain analyzes related to the movement of margins in retail chains, and I can say that these margins here are lower than in shopping centers, and I can say that I expect, if not reduced, at least the maintenance of these prices until the new year.
The aim is to stabilize the market in the specified period, the Ministry of Trade points out.
MERIMA MASLO, Assistant Federal Minister of Trade:
We expect that the consistent application of this decision will stabilize the prices of these products, and the real effects of the decision can be thoroughly discussed at the end of the decision, when the official data is published.
As a measure to help residents in Republika Srpska, the Socially Responsible campaign continues to be implemented, with traders, manufacturers and suppliers waiving part of the margin on consumer goods, according to the entity’s line minister.
DENIS ŠULIĆ, Minister of Trade and Tourism in the Government of the RS:
Now we have 45 products from domestic manufacturers, whose products have 0% margins, and hundreds of products in 22 different markets, in more than 400 business units throughout the RS, and we can say that all markets have products with zero percent margins.
The Regulation on Limiting Margins in the Trade of Goods in the Republic of Srpska was adopted in 2009. The inspectorate states that margins on the market are checked daily.
DUŠANKA NIKOLIC, Inspectorate of the Republika Srpska:
In eight months, 180 inspections were carried out, 23 of which were found to have irregularities, and on that basis, fines in the amount of 345 thousand marks were imposed.
In the Republika Srpska, a fine of 10,000 marks has been prescribed for the violation of the regulations in force for the trader as a company, and for the responsible person five thousand marks. In the Federation, it is even several times smaller, the chief market inspector points out, which has a stimulating effect on traders, and he believes that a new law on price control is necessary at the level of the Federation, in order to regulate the market and protect consumers as much as possible.