Clear and reasonable

Clear and reasonable

 While yet to go into effect, expanding the essential commodities basket for which government sets maximum prices from 12 to 72 (see related story) will have a significant impact on St. Maarten’s groceries sector. After all, it concerns a six-fold increase. To be sure, the additions include specifications and variations of existing categories.
The list was reportedly last revised 14 years ago and – one would agree – had become outdated. The addition of personal hygiene items, for example, seems to better reflect today’s needs.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), food importers failed to provide the redacted invoices requested. It was nevertheless decided to move ahead also considering current supply issues and rampant inflation due to – among other reasons – the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent war in Eastern Europe.
The price limits will now be based on prior knowledge and checks at local supermarkets between January and May. Adjustments can still be made later via a complaint system for the companies concerned.
It should be interesting to see how this more far-reaching intervention in the consumer goods market by government goes down. Greater administrative efforts from both officials and related businesses are no doubt involved.
Some suggest things could turn for the worst if there is no longer enough interest to carry some of these products because of their reduced profitability. Others suggest the measure hampers free competition that might have resulted in lower prices than those to be set.
Keep in mind that these are maximum rates, so the prices may be lower as well. Still, the implementation needs to be clear and reasonable, in good consultation with the industry no matter their initial apparent unwillingness to share relevant data, to prevent unfortunate situations from occurring.
Ultimately, any changes must prove beneficial to society and serve the general interest. As usual, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2022 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.