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Need for clearer view on import costs


Need for  clearer view on import costs

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There needs to be more transparency concerning the cost of imports coming into Barbados.  This recommendation comes from Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt, director general of the Barbados Consumers Research Organisation, Inc. (BARCRO), in a paper prepared for the Central Bank of Barbados on the occasion of their 30th Annual Review Seminar.  Gibbs-Taitt said Barbadian authorities only find out “the factory and farm-gate prices from the importing country when these products reach our customs officers in the form of invoices at our ports of entry”.He noted that this is far too late and there needs to be a pricing authority “that will have the teeth to investigate what we buy from overseas and . . . a database of all the sources from where we buy and full knowledge of all products being purchased, with . . . the unit price of each.”
The consumer analyst said this procedure would assist in understanding how prices are arrived at, so that consumers are not surprised when the other add-ons contribute to excessive amounts.  “Amazingly, this may very well assist in the prices that are eventually passed on to the end-users or consumers,” Gibbs-Taitt said.  He added that the consumer movement needs to become part of the Social Partnership, since no other body can “represent consumers better than consumers themselves”.  “Also, we need to be a part of a mechanism to voluntarily negotiate the settlement of a select number of items,”  the BARCRO founder said, suggesting a basket of 400 goods.
“There are some 30 000 to 44 000 individual items of goods in the large supermarkets. “To voluntarily negotiate the settlement of just 400, or less than one per cent, will be more than manageable,” he said.