PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten community can expect that the maximum prices will go into to effect within two weeks starting around mid-July.
This was announced by the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on behalf of the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) during Wednesday’s live Council of Ministers press briefing.
Jacobs gave an update on the implementation of the basket of goods. She said importers and shipping agents had met on Friday, June 24, with the TEATT Ministry; the Department of Economy, Transport and Telecommunication (ETT); the Inspectorate Department; and the Ministry of Justice Customs Department as it pertains to the submission of invoices prior to the release of the containers at the port for the TEATT Ministry to calculate the maximum prices correctly.
“As you know, we have agreed on maximum prices, but this was extrapolated based on existing prices and since we did receive responses from the importers and the shipping agents, we felt it pertinent to hold on the implementation of that to be able to do the proper calculations,” she explained.
Jacobs said the Customs Department, in agreement with the importers, will get the requested information so that the TEATT Ministry can properly calculate the maximum prices for the basket of goods based on latest invoices and prices.
Due to the global developments such as the rise in fuel cost, importers have said that prices are changing very rapidly, mainly on a weekly basis. The ministry has therefore felt it necessary to adjust the current maximum prices prior to publishing, as these businesses may experience a severe loss, “which is certainly not the intention of government, in giving relief to consumers, to drive businesses out of business,” she added.
She noted that during that same meeting, importers were informed of all the processes and procedures that will be required moving forward from the TEATT Ministry and the Customs Department respectively. Emphasis on the enforcement of these prices by the TEATT Inspectorate was mentioned.
“Though we only have a few – six – controllers, we will be heavily reliant on the public to assist in reporting any violations by any vendors. The more eyes and ears including cameras and pictures that we have from the public the more compliance we will have by the businesses,” said Jacobs speaking on behalf of the ministry.
She said the ministry is in the final stages in developing a digital platform, website and an app where the community can view the maximum prices for the basket of goods and make comparisons based on what would also be published on a monthly basis, to encourage consumers to shop around. Most of all, submit complaints when noted or when required.
In addition, for those consumers that may not have had the capabilities to submit complaints digitally, a WhatsApp number will also be shared. A press conference will be hosted to demonstrate and officially launch the website, which also has a target date sometime in July.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/maximum-prices-will-take-effect-within-two-weeks