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Call for some ease for consumers

3/14/2014

Director General of the Barbados Consumers’ Research Organisation Inc. (BarCRO), Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt, is once again reiterating his call for at least 400 of the over 40 000 items sold in supermarkets across this island to be exempted from taxes.

He made the call during a recent interview with The Barbados Advocate as he spoke of the impact that the Government’s ongoing layoffs, coupled with the increase in prices, can have on the spending power of consumers.

“You have had prices going up some 40 per cent, and last year by the way, was the lowest price increase we may have suffered when it went up by about two per cent. But if a man has an income and prices have gone up by two per cent, his income has decreased by two per cent; he might get the same amount in his hand, but his buying power has been reduced. And I would argue that our buying power has been reduced by some 40 per cent without anybody coming to our aid and identifying just one per cent of the items sold in this country to remove the taxes from, could be quite beneficial,” he maintained.

Gibbs-Taitt explained that such a move would allow Government to give consumers those items at a lower price. With that in mind, he said the careful identification of those items can be made through a committee comprised of merchants, the Government, trade unions and the consumer movement.

“This has been one of my callings for the last three to four years and I have not stopped calling for it, and I hope that Government will give it consideration, especially given the current circumstances. That would also meaningfully help people who are suffering from diabetes, hypertension, cancers and other medical conditions, because if you try to buy the foods required for diabetes, you better have a large bank account, otherwise you are not going to be able to do it,” the consumer advocate added. (JRT)

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