Bratislava, October 18 (TASR) – The bill introducing a special 2.5-percent levy for retail chains is directed against people, as its potential consequences could be felt by consumers in the form of higher prices and by employees via lower salaries, Opposition representatives told a press conference in Parliament on Thursday.
The Opposition further said that the bill won’t help Slovak farmers and food producers in any way. Therefore, the parties jointly called on coalition MPs not to vote for this proposal submitted by the Slovak National Party (SNS). “I haven’t seen a more nonsensical bill for ages. I really hope that coalition MPs who think a little about what they are approving will understand that this will harm people in Slovakia,” stressed SaS chair Richard Sulik at the press conference.
Sulik added that SaS will examine whether the bill is unconstitutional and if it complies with European law. The head of the Ordinary People (OLaNO) caucus Veronika Remisova called for the draft to be withdrawn from the parliamentary session.
According to Remisova, food prices have been soaring over the past two years, so she’d expect the state will try to decelerate price growth. “But through this draft, SNS is doing the opposite, it basically introduces a new tax on food because the planned levy on commercial operations is primarily food-related, causing further food price increases for the public,” said Remisova, who also drew attention to the possible closure of small outlets in rural areas.
Non-affiliated MP Miroslav Beblavy said that the bill is economically the same as if value-added tax (VAT) increased to 22.5 percent for food, footwear and textiles, simply for goods that are sold in retail chains. “If anyone came up today with a proposal to increase VAT, which is already among the highest in the EU, from 20 to 22.5 percent for these basic goods, everyone would drive him out with a whip,” he said.