By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
A Romanian lawmaker submitted a controversial bill seeking to close supermarkets over the weekend in order to help traditional producers who he said are economically affected by the myriad of large stores that sprung up in the cities across the country.
Marin Anton, a liberal MP, says his bill is meant to amend a current law regulating food sales, which he says favors supermarkets. “These amendments come to support Romanian producers and traders who still do not have a proper access in the supermarkets. We seek to bring the producers and supermarkets on equal footing” Anton said, as quoted by the state news wire Agerpres.
Therefore, in order to encourage Romanian producers to sell their products in the markets “supermarkets should be closed from 2 pm on Saturday till Monday morning”, Anton said during a debate on his draft law in the Agricultural Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. He said it is unacceptable that 70 per cent of the current products sold in supermarkets across the country are imported goods.
The lawmaker wants to go even further in amending the law already in effect. He says supermarkets should pay their bills to supplying producers in 10 days, and not 30, as the law stipulates now.
The supermarkets’ representatives have taken up arms over the bill. They say the current law regulating food sales in Romania should be abrogated and not improved, as lawmakers want, because it doesn’t fit the current market conditions. “The direct negotiation works very well and there’s no need for a law that will impose certain rules and deadlines”, according to Delia Nica, head of the supermarkets association in Romania.
She also warned that closing the supermarkets over the weekend would lead to personnel reduction both in supermarkets and producers. “There is a culture in Romania that customers go for shopping in the weekend. For us, sales over the weekend amount to 30-40 per cent of the whole week’s turnover and an increase in personnel by 15-18%”, Nica pointed out.
The lawmakers in the Agricultural Committee will discuss the bill with the government and Romanian producers’ associations before submitting it to debate in the plenum of the Parliament.