$500 Million Set Aside to Reduce the Effect of Price Increases on the Poor


The Government is to set aside approximately $500 million as part of a major initiative to help cushion the effects of rising consumer prices on the most vulnerable.
Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who made the announcement in the House of Representatives on (Dec.18), during the debate on the first supplementary estimates for the 2007/08 fiscal year, said that the framework for the disbursement of the funds has not yet been finalized.
Citing data from the most recent Survey of Living Conditions, Mr. Golding said that the situation of rising prices is grave, but noted that the government is devising a strategy to get well needed assistance to the poor.
“In discussions with the Minister of Finance and (Public Service), the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce and the Minister of Agriculture, I have asked them to put all their resources together to see how we can respond to this situation. in January despite the fiscal constraints,” Mr. Golding said.
In the meantime, he stated that the government has embarked on other policy measures to bring relief to persons, who are most susceptible to price increases. “We reduced substantially, protective duties on items that we consider to be critical to people’s diet, in particular, poor people’s diet,” he informed.
Citing the reductions, he said that on chicken, the duty has been reduced from 250 per cent to 10 per cent, while the duty on leg quarters went down to 45 per cent from 265 per cent. The duty on eggs was also reduced from 86 per cent to zero.
The Prime Minister told the House that the government is not considering instituting price controls at this time.

JIS Social