BASSETERRE, St Kitts, August 31, 2007 – Price controls are being imposed on a basket of grocery items, medicines and selected appliances and furnishings to bring “lasting relief to lower income persons”, the St Kitts/Nevis government said.
The price controls should take effect by mid-September and will cover 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.
“The minister (of Consumer Affairs, Dr Timothy Harris) indicated that he had discussions with members of the business community and had come to a good sense of what levels of reduction would be needed to appreciably reduce the cost of living to the benefit of the poor while simultaneously ensuring that small businesses in particular can continue to operate profitably,” said Nigel Carty, minister of state in the information ministry.
Government is also considering whether any of the items should be exempted from import duty.
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 are to be amended by parliament soon to give effect to the Cabinet decision.