The government relies on “players in the economy, offices and authorities that could reduce inflation-generating irregularities” in its efforts to reduce inflation below 10 percent by the end of the year, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said after talks with the president of the Economic Competition Office (GVH) on Tuesday.
Gergely Gulyás mentioned a review of Hungary’s pricing practices as “extremely important” and said the competition authority had relevant powers in the area. He also praised GVH as doing a “professional job without any influencing”.
GVH chief Csaba Balázs Rigó said his office was “independent of the government but not of good governance”. As a state agency reporting to parliament it focuses on “problems significantly impacting people, including inflation”. GVH deals with inflation to ensure that the domestic markets “work well and benefit the Hungarian people”. He noted that GVH had been empowered in July 2021 to conduct expedited procedures to enforce the law and protect consumers, adding that the authority’s new powers included house searches to obtain data relevant to ongoing procedures.
Referring to the inflation of food prices, Rigó said his office had launched an investigation into the dairy industry in January, as well as another into the prices of non-perishable food products. “It is clear that disinflation has started in the area, with competition among retailers reducing their prices,” he added. He said a “firm stance” by GVH in itself could discourage players from violations, adding that “we are just sharpening the spear and have not yet stabbed”.
Answering a question about the controlled price of basic food products, Gulyás said the government was monitoring the benefits and drawbacks of maintaining the price caps. Those benefits are “currently still greater than the damage caused by influencing the economic competition”, he said.