NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Retail Grocers Association maintains that the impact of the recent expansion of the Price Control Basket (PCB) will undoubtedly prove catastrophic to the local wholesale and retail industry.
The association affirmed its commitment to working with the federal government of The Bahamas toward ensuring that food is reasonably priced for vulnerable Bahamians, in a press release.
The RGA said its representatives, joined by the manufacturers’ representatives and the Wholesaler’s Association, met with Prime Minister Philip Davis, Minister of Tourism, Aviation and Investments Chester Cooper, Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis and other government officials on Monday to debate their concerns regarding the expansion of the Price Control Basket (PCB) which was to take effect on Monday.
“The RGA wishes to again make clear that while the federal government announced that 38 items can be added to the Basket, it’s essentially 38 categories of foodstuffs, which might affect greater than 5,000 items to which inventory and price adjustments would must be made. To facilitate such changes would be a really expensive undertaking, requiring long man hours and would mean that 40 to 60 percent percent of total revenues for local wholesalers and retailers can be controlled,” the Association said.
The RGA noted that the choice was made without prior industry consultation and at a time when businesses are faced with already slim profit margins, increasing electricity costs, increased operating expenses, and theft.
“The sector employs some 4,000 individuals and the expansion of the Price Control Basket will undoubtedly have a ripple effect which might prove detrimental, with mass store closures, particularly among the many smaller food stores and the actual potential for food shortage within the country,” it continued.
“The Association is keenly aware of the results of world inflation and the hardships being faced across the country by many Bahamians. Our collective objective is to offer the most effective prices possible to our customers. Additionally it is value noting that customers have been in a position to profit from the pass-through reductions in customs duties for some items,” the RGA added.
The RGA noted that its members have and proceed to contribute unselfishly to all manner of charitable organizations and efforts throughout the country.
The association suggested the federal government provide a more targeted approach to relief to most in need of assistance, like a food program.
Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday that the federal government won’t delay the roll-out of its price control expansion plans despite serious concerns and pushback from the local food wholesale and retail industry, as the federal government expects to have resolved all the problems by this coming Friday.