NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Retail Grocers Association president Philip Beneby yesterday warned that the federal government’s decision so as to add 38 extra food items to the price control regime would “cut deep” into the profit margins of local retailers, adding that some may not last the six month trial period of the regime’s expansion.
Prime Minister Philip Davis KC during a televised national address Tuesday night acknowledged the high cost of living within the country as he pledged that his administration is doing more to tackle the problem.
Davis announced that the federal government has added 38 new items to be subject to cost controls within the country.
“We’re limiting the wholesale and retail markup of on a regular basis items like diapers, and food like chicken, eggs, bread, bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, onions, and potatoes. This stuff are being added for a minimum of a 6-month period, at which point we are going to review and evaluate the impact on businesses and consumers,” said Davis.
Beneby expressed surprise on the announcement when contacted yesterday.
“That is the primary time I’m hearing about it. I’ll say this, In the event that they add 38 items to the Price Control list we would as well shut down, we would as well close the doors. The smaller convenience stores, something like that can put them out of business certainly. I don’t know what the formula goes to be to find out the impact but some businesses may not last six months. It’s possible you’ll be owing so a lot of your suppliers in that period. That’s a protracted time. That’s cutting deep into your profit margins,” said Beneby.
Beneby warned that retailers were also being challenged by increased operational costs, noting that top inflation would still impact the fee of things on the price-controlled list.
“BPL has increased, insurance has increased, the fee of living index has gone up several times and NIB contributions have increased,” he said.
“You furthermore mght have those that must pay rent or must make loan payments to the bank. Things will not be easy and I can let you know that if 38 items are happening the price-controlled list there are going to be challenges. It’s troubling, very troubling. I hope they begin some dialogue with the grocers,” said Beneby.