Double-digit rise in CPI prompts UPP to call on Browne Administration, again, to reduce Customs duty on certain items

The United Progressive Party (UPP) is demanding that the Gaston Browne Administration address the double-digit rise in the cost of living.

According to the Party, “Parents are currently under additional pressure, stretching their limited finances to prepare their children for the return of school.”

Last week, August 3, the Statistics Division released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for June 2022, showing an increase in all areas, including transportation and airfares. Meanwhile, the Year-on-Year Analysis showed the All Items Index rising 10.5% for the year ending June 2022.

Harold Lovell, the Party’s Political Leader and a former Minister of Finance, refers to the steep increase in the CPI as absolutely frightening, commenting that the increase in the cost of living has gone through the roof.

Lovell acknowledges that freight charges have increased; that the prices of imported goods have gone up in their source markets; and that supply-chain issues have caused shipping containers to sit on docks for lengthy periods, preventing businesses from getting their goods in a timely manner.

These factors, which have contributed to the rise in inflation, are outside the control of the country, Lovell agrees. However, he says, the Browne Administration has done nothing meaningful to help the people combat the rise.

The Political Leader reminds the public that the UPP has put forward a number of proposals to cushion the impact of inflation on the people – and the Browne Administration has ignored them. However, other Caribbean countries have adopted policies that are in keeping with his proposals, he says.

The Party has suggested that, for a limited time, there should be a reduction in the Customs duty on certain food items and on building materials.

Additionally, Lovell has recommended that the Government remove the Customs duty on popular foods – such as ling fish, salt beef, pig mouth and feet, corned beef, sardines, breakfast cereals, oats, and cooking oil among others – also for a limited time.

 Lovell notes that Government Ministers keep enriching themselves while the people continue to suffer, and he finds this totally offensive.

Alongside the reduction in Customs duty, the UPP recommends that retail food prices be monitored diligently to ensure that the savings are passed on to consumers.