Fuel clause assessment underway, basket of goods expansion priority | THE DAILY HERALD

TEATT Minister Roger Lawrence


PHILIPSBURG–Expanding the basket of goods is going to be prioritised by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Roger Lawrence. This is one of the measures the ministry is looking at to alleviate the burden on consumers.

  “I am having my team also prioritise as it relates to expanding the basket of goods. Not only the basket of goods – you can expand the current list of items, but it’s also the type of item and quality too. Which items are you focusing on to lessen the burden?” Lawrence told The Daily Herald in a recent interview.

  Another measure is an assessment of the calculations of the fuel clause of water and light company GEBE. Lawrence first alluded to the assessment during the debate on the 2022 budget.

  “There will be an assessment,” he said. “The team is doing an assessment as it relates to the overall calculations etc., and that is a work in progress. The assessment is still being done by my ministry. That is being done with regard to actionable intelligence, the statistics department and the economy department. They are doing their full due diligence.”

  He continued: “There have been a lot of discussions about the tariffs of particular entities who produce locally what they sell. What can be done from an incentive [perspective – Ed.]? There have also always been discussions as it relates to the senior citizen rates. So yes, there need to be studies as it relates to where we can find the best formula to lessen the burden on our people. These studies, yes, are being done, but primarily to ensure that we alleviate and to a great extent look out for the people of the country – lessen the overall costs. Our cost of living is a primary topic and these are areas that we are looking into, because there are several components that will lead up to that full evaluation and change the concept of the cost of living.”

  Lawrence is adamant that prices should go down for consumers. “From a competitive standpoint, do we have sufficient competition on the island as it relates to decreasing costs? Do we need to look into implementing fair competition laws, or antitrust laws? These are key areas that need to be zoomed in. And that is all part of leading a successful and sustainable destination. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the discussion needs to start,” he said.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/fuel-clause-assessment-underway-basket-of-goods-expansion-priority