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Staple foods to be cheaper, promises Benn

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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Minister of Commerce and Trade Senator Haynesley Benn has promised a decrease in the cost of food staples and will monitor supermarkets to make sure Barbadians are not victims of price gouging.
He also gave the assurance that information on pricing gathered from supermarkets will be published with the approval of the Minister of Finance.
Speaking in the Senate late Monday during debate on the Appropriation Bill 2011, Benn said that since Government had expanded the “basket of goods” and removed the Environmental Levy, a “real decrease” should be seen.
Specifying staples such as salt fish, black-eyed peas and split peas, garlic, minced beef and lamb, as well as imported fresh apples and grapes which now do not pay import duties, he said these should be cheaper since they no longer attracted the levy or Value Added Tax (VAT).
He added that foods originating from within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) should also see a reduction in duties and taxes – including chocolate, macaroni, spaghetti, elbows, biscuits, margarine, mangoes and pineapples, while canned foods such as sardine and tuna, mackerel and corned beef, which have a five per cent duty if they originate outside CARICOM, would no longer attract VAT.
Benn said the resulting reduction at the Bridgetown Port “must be transferred to the prices on the shop shelves”. (RJ)