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MALTATODAY 25 September 2022

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4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 25 SEPTEMBER 2022 NEWS NICOLE MEILAQ THE price of basic food stuffs like cheese, pasta and eggs has gone up by as much as 18% since January this year as shoppers con- tinue to feel the pinch. Figures obtained by MaltaToday from the National Statistics Office offers a breakdown of how the prices of individual food products have shot up in just six months. If a litre of sunflower oil used to cost around €2.50 at the start of the year, its price has gone up to €3.36 per litre among the cheap- er-range products on sale, according to the statistics. Indeed, the annual inflation rate for refined oils stood at a whopping 41.3% in August. The supermarket shelves are testament to the statistics. Litre bottles of sunflower oil are costing people anywhere between €3.50 to €4. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is largely to blame for the high sunflower oil prices. Ukraine is the world's largest producer of sunflower oil, and the war ground its pro- duction to a halt. One supermarket chain had told Malta- Today last June that the price of all imports have risen significantly this year. The price of other products have shot up over the months too. According to the NSO's statistics, the price of pasta jumped by 17.6% since last January, or 32.4% since Au- gust 2021. Cheese prices increased by 18.2% since last January, or 20.82% since last year. In general, prices increased by 10-15% for eggs, margarine and butter, frozen meat, poultry and rabbit meat, coffee, processed vegetables, and fish. The only products that fell in price are fresh and chilled foods, vegetables, and un- processed potatoes. These fell by 7.6%, 14% and 25.9% respectively. Inflation has not only hit food prices, with postal and air transport services following a similar trajectory. If such services cost €3 in January, they now cost €3.90. Women are paying a higher premium on their clothes as well. The price of women's outerwear has shot up by 20%. If a jacket cost €30 in January, it now costs €36. Men's outerwear prices have gone up by 13.2%, meaning jackets have gone from cost- ing €30 to €34. Materials for plastering and cement ren- dering increased by 14.1%, while materials for painting increased by 9.4%. The Maltese government adopted a policy of price stability in the wake of the energy crisis that has hit Europe as a result of the war in Ukraine. On the continent, electricity and fuel prices have soared, hitting families hard and forcing governments now to inter- vene heavily. Apart from energy subsidies, the Maltese government is subsidising imported wheat, barley and other grains. Sunflower oil prices up 40% since last year THE St Albert the Great College secondary school has postponed its first day of the new scholas- tic year for Wednesday 28 Sep- tember over disagreements with teaching staff. Whilst the primary school will open its doors on Tuesday 27 September, the college has en- countered setbacks for the open- ing of the scholastic year due to data being withheld from the ad- ministration. On Friday the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) received a war- rant of prohibitory injunction from the rector of the college, Fr Aaron Zahra, to stop the union from issuing more directives. MUT declared a trade dispute last month against the Domini- can Order and the Catholic Ed- ucation Secretariat, which is the Maltese archdiocese's education arm. The dispute in question was prompted after the college sacked Mario Mallia, who had been its school head for 16 years. His dismissal, which the college board and rector said was linked to 'insubordination', caused an outpouring of support for the popular headmaster who was a champion of inclusivity. The College said that the deci- sion to postpone the school open- ing was taken in collaboration with the Secretariat for Catholic Education and the Quality Assur- ance Department (QAD) within the Education Ministry. It said that the rector and the new head of the secondary school finalised the timetable for the year, with only a few preparations remain- ing. On Thursday, St Albert the Great College had said that it would hold MUT liable for any damages if the school did not open on Monday. With regards to the primary school, the college said that the rector, who is currently the act- ing head of the school, enabled advanced preparations for the opening, and the first day will take place on Tuesday as planned. St Albert College: first day of school postponed

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