February 01, 2008
New Junior Minister with responsibility for Trade, Industry and Consumer Affairs Minister in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Dwight Cozier, reiterated the NIA’s commitment to a reduction in the cost of living on Nevis and the implementation of a system of checks and balances to ensure that consumers were the ultimate beneficiaries.
Mr. Cozier, who was reassigned from the Premier’s Ministry on January 10, 2008, to head the Ministry of Trade Industry Consumer Affairs Import and Export Control, made the comment during an interview with the Department of Information on January 31, 2008.
“Our [NIA] idea of reducing the cost of living ought not to end up profiting persons or profiting persons who are in the market as middle people between the government and the consumer. We will ensure by virtue of the Price Control Unit which will be supervised by the Consumer Affairs Department that we have controls. We will ensure that prices are controlled, so as to ensure that “¦the prices get passed on, in the end, to the consumer.
“That is the whole idea of making the country a country that is more beneficial for the people and we [NIA] are very serious about the idea of reducing prices on the island of Nevis,” he said.
The Minister explained that the existing Consumer Affairs Department existed as an idea and he would begin the process of setting up the Department ground up to deal with matters related to the reduction of prices, the reduction of the cost of living, the Price Control Unit which fell under the purview of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
With regard to a food basket for Nevis, Mr. Cozier noted that the idea had been one discussed for some time. He said the Nevis Reformation Party led Administration had during its campaign, vociferously outlined its ideas to create a reduced cost of living on Nevis through the introduction of a food basket.
“The Supply Office under the Department of Trade as we know is responsible for the importation of the staples such as milk, flour, rice, sugar and animal feed such as the meal for pigs, poultry, horses and so fourth . We will start with these products, we will make sure that first of all the importation of them, the sourcing the supply side of these products are properly maintained that efficiency is brought back to this area and we will begin building our food basket by that standard.
“So our idea of food basket maybe similar to what St. Kitts has in some respects and it may be different in that we are attempting to do this in a very practical and ground up approach,” he said.
The Minister noted that since his appointment to the new office, he had met with his management team and expressed his confidence in the team’s collective ability to carry out the Administration’s plans.
He said his team was well on its way to provide the initiatives that the Administration had promised the people of Nevis since it took office in July 2006 and he outlined his vision for the small business sector on the island.
“We are not going to fail the people of Nevis on the promise of lowering the cost of living and also to maximize efficiency in our trade relations. My vision entails really the organisation of small businesses into such a state that they can not just remain small businesses but to have them developed to medium size business and become large businesses as well.
“By organization I mean we are going to be adopting an approach taking into consideration the new Small Business Ordinance passed last year which will in fact deal with the incentives that are going to be paid into small businesses but these incentives we feel, ought not to be simply given without certain obligations that are to be met by those small business people,” he said.
Mr. Cozier explained however, that the businesses that would benefit from the government’s incentives would be obliged to take into consideration incorporation of small business and the organization of their accounts.
He further explained that annual returns would have to be filed to ensure that the existing businesses that were incorporated complied with the annual returns compliance obligations that they had. Businesses that were in operation but had not been incorporated would be encouraged to do so in order to take advantage of the incentive packages offered to the small business sector.