Campaign to Highlight Prices Effective -Paulwell


Minister of Commerce, Science and Technology Phillip Paulwell has reported that government’s aggressive media campaign to publish pre and post Hurricane Ivan price bands and to empower consumers to expose errant traders had proven to be extremely effective.
Speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 28),Mr. Paulwell said the retail trade could now operate normally without any intervention under the Trade Act. He lauded the work of the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), the leadership of the private sector and consumers for their vigilance.
He said that while the Ministry was comfortable with the situation regarding basic items, concerns remained over the sale of kerosene. He informed that following a meeting with the Association of Kerosene Oil Distributors, an agreement had been made to initiate additional measures to achieve island wide availability of kerosene within recommended price bands.
Mr. Paulwell said the government-owned marketing company, Petcom, had been instructed to ensure that supplies were concentrated in communities that were still without electricity and to publish the names of the distributors.
“I am advising the public that the law indicates that all sellers of kerosene must have a licence to do so and buyers should look for those licences,” he stated, noting that there was no General Consumption tax (GCT) on kerosene and to report all instances of such charges to the CAC.
The Commerce Minister further pointed out that 22 per cent of complaints to the CAC hotline related to price abuses, particularly in tertiary markets where persons bought from larger stores and sole to smaller retailers. He urged consumers to be wary and urged traders to desist from price gouging.
Meanwhile, in an update on the situation with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPSCo), Mr. Paulwell informed that as at September 28, some 450,000 customers had received regular electricity supplies. He explained that the communities, which were without power was due to the extensive damage to the power delivery network, continuing inclement weather and limited road accessibility.

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