Basseterre, St, Kitts – Nevis
July 31st 2007 (CUOPM)
For Immediate Public Release
The St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party Cabinet on Monday discussed and approved a list of basic food and non-food items to comprise a basket of goods for price control in an effort to reduce the cost of living.
This has been disclosed by Minister of State for Information, Hon. Nigel Carty, who recalled the Cabinet decision of July 25th to mandate the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Finance to undertake a comprehensive review and analysis of the basket of basic food items and to make recommendations on how the cost of these basic items could be reduced.
“In taking this matter forward, cabinet today discussed in detail and approved a list of basic food and non-food items to comprise a basic basket of goods for price control. This is in response to the need to ensure that our poorer citizens are able to lead a life of improved quality through the ability to access basic food and non-food items at a reasonable cost,” disclosed Minister Carty.He said the basket now approved and established consists of fruits and vegetables, chicken parts, frozen fish, corn meal, flour, milk, margarine, pasta products, cheese, sardines, crackers, cereals, toothpaste, cooking oil, peas and beans, rice, corned beef, toilet paper, disposable diapers, and medicines for allergy, hypertension, asthma, diabetes and eye conditions. The price of refrigerators, stoves and mattresses up to certain limited sizes will also be regulated.
Mr. Carty said that over the next two weeks, further work will be done by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Finance to determine the precise margins at which these goods can be sold.
The Ministry of Finance will also advise on which of these goods, if any, should be exempt from import duty and it is envisaged that this new price control regime will take effect in September of this year.
The Denzil Douglas Labour Government also reiterated its committed to the revision of a number of pieces of legislation to improve the consumer protection regime in the Federation, so that price control of basic items is only one facet of the exercise.
The Sale of Goods Act, the Distribution and Pricing of Goods Act, the Bureau of Standards Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Food and Drugs Act will be revised shortly for this purpose.
“The government is determined to bring lasting relief to our poor citizens in particular,” said Minister Carty.