MPs’ stupidity excels with shopping hours bill
E DII TO RII A L
In their wisdom to try and muzzle the government, our honourable members of parliament, most of whom do not deserve to get re-elected in May, have shot themselves in the foot for the umpteenth time.
By depriving the Labour Minister of the right to set (or completely liberalise) shopping hours and days, the opposition parties have forced the question back to the courts, where hopefully reason will prevail and shops will be allowed, once again, to open whenever they want or in accordance with consumer demands.
The Minister said after the Cabinet meeting on Monday that the matter is now in the hands of the Attorney General and will be appealed in the Supreme Court. Until the judges’ final outcome, however, Cyprus will return to the Dark Ages, with shops shutting on Wednesday afternoons, at 6pm on Saturday and closed all day Sunday, as if God had decreed it. Let alone the trouble this will cause the working class, many of whom do not have a spare day for their shopping.
The Labour Minister also appealed to employers not to sack any staff, who by default will now become redundant, until the matter is resolved.
The opposition voices have failed to come up with reasonable arguments to counter the administration’s claim that the extended shopping hours helped reduce unemployment and revived the retail sector. Instead, they insist on calling on the government to defend how jobless figures have been contained and how the economy has benefitted from a revival of the retail sector. They even want the government to help the SMEs, which, they claim, will be hurt most by the extended shopping hours and days. How naïve these people are…
Things have changed, as have market forces and trends, allowing the smartest to survive, not necessarily the biggest.
With Sunday closures, many of the small and medium sized manufacturers, farmers and suppliers, who provide goods to the larger stores, will lose out and also be forced to lay off staff. With money supply being reduced, due to one less shopping day, the cash flow of SMEs will be hurt most, having struggled in the past three years to make ends meet. This will take us back to a vicious circle of extended loans, over-exposed mortgages, dried up supply chains and longer lines in front of the (un)employment office.
How MPs come up with these stupid ideas to impose controls on everything is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they should all go home and let the consumers decide what is best for them.