Prices of certain food products in Lithuania rose more significantly in the first quarter this year, compared with the same period 2015, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said on Monday.
He made the remarks after meeting representatives of Lithuania's Competition Council, statistics department and trade organizations, after makeup increase allegedly sparked public discontent in the country.
Dynamics of certain food products, fruits and vegetables in particular, were analyzed and data showed that prices of some of the goods were rising faster, Butkevicius was quoted as saying by local website vz.lt.
Butkevicius said in the first quarter this year price of onions went up by 70 percent on a yearly basis, sweet peppers by 35 percent, garlic by 40 percent. However, the prime minister noted price of certain locally produced meat and dairy products were lower this year.
According to the prime minister, turnover of five major retail trade networks increased by more than 10 percent during the period.
"I can clearly say that this is not due to the euro; most of the goods are being imported from the eurozone countries, therefore, prices changes are due to other reasons than euro, such as market challenges, bad harvest and others," Butkevicius noted.
Lithuania joined the eurozone on Jan. 1, 2015.
Butkevicius instructed the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) and the Competition Council to monitor markup of certain product groups.
Sarunas Keserauskas, chairman of the Competition Council of Lithuania, mentioned that some analysis will be made in order to follow allegedly unlawful agreements among the largest Lithuanian retail chains. However, the research would be non-public and take a period of time, he noted.
Some Lithuanian users on Facebook have called for boycott of shopping in largest retail chains on May 10-12.