MPs’ stu­pid­ity ex­cels with shop­ping hours bill

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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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