Address to the Nation by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley – July 14, 2022. (PMO)

Government will be signing a compact agreement with the private sector on Saturday, July 16, to effect a reduction of prices on 44 essential items, including a selection of canned and dry goods, toiletries and meat products.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made the disclosure while addressing the nation this afternoon from Ilaro Court. She revealed that the reduction in prices on the 44 essential items would be for a period of six months, from Thursday, July 21, to Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

Ms. Mottley noted that over the last six weeks Government had engaged in talks with a variety of partners in critical sectors and the social partners, to ease the pressures on Barbadians associated with the increased cost of living, as a result of increasing oil prices, the Russia-Ukraine war, and disruptions to supply chains.

She stated that coming out of those discussions, the compact agreement came about, and the Ministry of Finance, through the Customs and Excise Department, would expand a list of essential food items on which no VAT will be charged and a few on which no duties will be charged.

The Prime Minister stated: “As I’ve indicated, supermarkets have agreed, as well as wholesalers and distributors combined and farmers all, to review their mark-ups.  And for these 44 items have agreed for the most part, with the exception of two or three, to leave the mark-ups no higher than between 12 and 15 per cent to ensure that every Barbadian household, but in particular the vulnerable, can benefit from these items.”

The 44 items include: whole chicken, chop mix chicken, stew chicken and chicken backs, pork hind legs (hind leg chops), stew pork, knuckles, hocks, pigtails, beef stew, slice ham, eggs, New Zealand cheddar cheese, margarine (Sunflower margarine), evaporated milk, baby food milk and two per cent milk.

Those items falling under dry and canned goods were: breakfast oats; Milo/drinking chocolate; soya bean or Sunflower cooking oil; rice; macaroni; Eclipse and Sodabix single and multi-pack biscuits; salt bread; oranges; gala apples; tuna and sardine (whether in oil or water); corned beef; split peas; pigeon peas; black-eye peas; flour; black tea, such as Lipton or Red Rose (unflavoured); Cream of Wheat; corn flakes; peanut butter; chowmein; Ramen, and honey.

The Prime Minister announced that the reduction in prices on the 44 essential items would be for a period of six months, from Thursday, July 21, to Tuesday, January 31, 2023. (Stock Photo)

Also included are personal hygiene items such as toilet soap; toilet paper; sanitary napkins; baby diapers; single toothbrushes; toothpaste; roll-on deodorant and bleach.

Ms. Mottley also shared that Pinnacle Feeds and Roberts Manufacturing made a commitment that they would not increase their animal feed prices for the next six months, unless there was some extraordinary event way beyond everyone’s control.

The Prime Minister thanked Minister Kerrie Symmonds, along with Minister Colin Jordan, Ambassador Clyde Mascoll and Senior Economic Advisor to the Government, Dr. Kevin Greenidge, for assisting in the engagement with the private sector

“I also want to say to the captains of the private sector, and in particular those in the supermarkets within the wholesale and retail and distributive sector, and those for example within the farming community, the poultry community, the pig farmers, and generally, that I want to say a great thank you for your coming together under this pressure and agreeing that in this country, we are always best when each of us works to put something on the table voluntarily.  We don’t do this out of the blue,” Prime Minister Mottley stated.

She added that these initial measures would go a long way toward easing the burden on Barbadians over the next six months. “It is not all that we would have liked to have done, but we are realistic and we are taking our time because with each steady step we can ensure that we continue to build this nation and make life better, ultimately, for you, our children and our children’s children,” the Prime Minister said.

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