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Factbox-What are governments doing to ease inflation pain?

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(Reuters) – Pandemic-related disruptions to global supply chains and the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine have driven up prices of energy, commodities and other necessities.

Here’s how governments are trying to help hard-hit consumers and companies:

AMERICAS:

* U.S. President Joe Biden’s drug pricing reform, part of the Inflation Reduction Act, penalises drugmakers for excessive prices, aiming to reduce out-of-pocket costs for Medicare recipients. The program has been challenged in court by drugmaker Merck & Co.

* Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras in May approved a new fuel pricing policy for gasoline and diesel that will sharply lower costs for motorists. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has pledged to introduce a bill making the annual minimum wage adjustment above inflation a permanent rule.

* Mexico has raised the minimum wage by 20% for 2023. In March it opened the door to imported Brazilian bovine products for the first time as it looks to diversify its food supply to try to curb inflation.

* Colombia raised the minimum wage by 16% for 2023.

EUROPE:

* The European Commission extended its gas price cap system to all trading hubs in the European Union from May. EU countries agreed on the cap in December.

* French finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said 75 big food industry players had pledged to lower prices on hundreds of products starting next month. The government has been urging food retailers and manufacturers to cut prices to help households.

* Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier in June imposed mandatory price cuts on some basic food items by large retailers.

* Poland plans to raise the minimum wage twice more in 2024. It was increased from January 2023 and will be lifted again from July.

* Germany is launching a programme that will make available tens of billions of euros for firms facing substantial energy costs. The government last year introduced electricity and gas price caps.

* Most British households can expect cheaper energy bills from July after regulator Ofgem slashed its price cap to reflect a slump in wholesale costs. The new cap marks a near 40% fall compared with the previous level.

* The Greek government in May extended to the end of September some of the measures it took last year to help households and businesses with soaring energy bills.

* Italy in March approved measures worth almost 5 billion euros ($5.38 billion) to cut energy bills for families and firms.

* Portugal in March announced a package to help low-income families, including scrapping value added tax on essential food products.

* Spain raised the minimum wage from January by 8%.

ASIA-PACIFIC:

* Australia will raise the minimum wage by 5.75% from July 1. In May, the government said it would include A$14.6 billion ($9.79 billion) over four years in the federal budget for cost of living relief.

* South Korea has cut tariffs from June on higher-priced edible products, including pork and sugar.

* Pakistan in April capped the retail price rise in essential drugs at 14%.

* India in March lifted the inflation-adjusted allowance for federal government employees by 4%.

* Top Japanese companies in March agreed to their largest pay increases in a quarter of a century at annual labour talks, heeding Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s call for higher wages.

* Japan has allocated more than 2 trillion yen ($14.33 billion) from reserve funds to try to limit inflation.

* Thailand in March agreed to extend an excise tax cut on diesel to July 20.

* The Philippines in December extended lower tariff rates on rice and other food items to the end of 2023.

AFRICA AND MIDDLE EAST:

* Nigeria needs to review its minimum wage policy, President Bola Tinubu said earlier in June. The country’s main labour union is negotiating with the government after petrol prices soared following the removal of a decades-old subsidy.

* Morocco in April adopted a decree cancelling VAT on agricultural inputs such as soil nutrients.

* The majority of South Africa’s public sector unions in late March agreed to a 7.5% wage increase after five months of strike action. The two-year deal is significantly higher than what the government had factored into its 2023 budget.

* Israel in early March reached a wage deal with its main public sector labour union, covering some 350,000 civil servants, and offering 11% increases between 2020 and 2027.

* Turkey in December raised the monthly minimum wage for 2023 by 55% from the level determined in July.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Compiled by Olivier Sorgho, Tristan Chabba, Anna Mackenzie and Laura Lenkiewicz; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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