NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday that the federal government expects that its recently announced expansion to the Price Control Basket (PCB) will take effect November 1.
Speaking on the matter yesterday Halkitis said: “We have amended the orders and what now we have done will not be gone to full enforcement of the new orders as yet because in our meeting with the retail grocers last week Monday and the meeting we had with the pharmaceutical retailers and wholesalers this past Friday similar sentiments were expressed about notice being given and a possibility to make the adjustment.
“In fact they didn’t agree with the margins but we stressed to them that that is a short lived measure in the primary instance and we are going to review afterward. We also committed to another things that impact their businesses.”
He continued: “The retailers did ask for an extension to October 28, which is that this Friday, with a purpose to get to us some suggestions on how we will […] bring down prices and minimize the impact on them.
“As of now we haven’t received that as yet. What we indicated was that what we are going to do is give them until November 1 after which we expect that the new margins will probably be in effect within the retail pharmacies in addition to stores.”
Halkitis warned that there will probably be various penalties for non-compliance, but expressed that the federal government won’t be coming down with a “heavy hand”.
“We understand the whole lot the companies have told us concerning the impact on their bottom line, what they’ve said by way of cost and the way it’s affecting everybody. What now we have stressed is that the federal government has made some efforts on its behalf and that is an effort to make sure that the things we’re doing trickle down,” he said.
In line with the Retail Grocers Association, while the federal government has announced that 38 items could be added to the Price Control Basket, it’s in fact 38 categories of foodstuffs, which might affect greater than 5,000 items to which inventory and price adjustments would must be made.
The association has argued that the move could be detrimental to the local food wholesale and retail industry.