NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The owner of Super Value has called for an end to what he called an “unnecessary” price control regime, claiming that the cost of living could be reduced without such an “antiquated” system.
Rupert Roberts, in a Eyewitness News interview, suggested that price controls create more problems than they solve, and called on the government to assess the 50-year-old regime.
“The whole price control system is useless. We could keep the cost of living or bring it down if we didn’t have to deal with a 50-year-old price control regime, ”said Roberts.
He added, “I have never seen a single merchant break the price controls in the past 50 years. There are times when storekeepers make mistakes but no one ever intentionally violates price controls. “
Price controls were introduced in 1971 as a way to prevent unscrupulous traders from exploiting low-income consumers by dramatically increasing the cost of basic groceries and other commodities.
Roberts argued that it takes too long for price changes to be approved in light of the increases in world prices and supply shortages.
He noted that retailers and wholesalers ultimately have to increase the prices of non-price-controlled items to compensate for losses on price-controlled products.
There are times when storekeepers make mistakes but no one ever intentionally violates price controls.
– Rupert Roberts
Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, in a supplemental budget statement in October, said the government seeks price controls to control food prices as the government moves to remove multiple value added tax concessions (VAT) on items in the bread loft.
“With the reduction in the VAT rate, we are removing the zero VAT rate on a variety of items. Price controls are in place to ensure that the items in the attic will be at a fair price, ”the Prime Minister said at the time.
Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis, defending the decision to remove the zero rate on the granary and several other items while reducing the VAT rate from 12 to 10 percent, explained that in order to have items excluding VAT, the old administration had increased VAT on everything else.
“Our view, supported by research, is that it is better, more efficient, to have a lower rate with minimum exemptions, and for vulnerable people in society they receive direct cash assistance,” did he declare.