Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 24th 2013 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Trade Minister Vasant Bharath yesterday
reported the Government s initiative to subside
rice, oil and flour, distributed by National Flour
Mills, was a success.
He was speaking at yesterday s post-Cabinet
press conference, at the Office of the Prime Min-
ister, St Clair.
The 20 per cent reduction in the prices of the
three food items began yesterday and ends today.
Bharath said he had met with the Consumer
Affairs Division and the Supermarkets Association
to ensure a smooth transition for the price reduc-
He added: "That exercise has gone very
smoothly. All reports today have indicated the
discounts have been widespread throughout the
"The Consumer Affairs Division will be visiting
40 supermarkets across T&T which eventually
covers over 90 per cent of the trade. From all
reports it has been a resounding success.
"Several supermarkets have reported they are
already out of some of these products and they
are being replenished by the National Flour Mills
during the course of today and tomorrow."
Bharath said consumers had taken full advantage
of discounts, adding that they will enjoy a "very
merry Christmas" as a result of their savings.
Grocery packer Stephan Aleong puts a price tag an a bag of Lotus flour at Sik HeenTom grocery, Arima, yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Some supermarket owners around Port-
of-Spain are complaining that the reduc-
tion in flour, oil and rice from the state-
owned National Flour Mills (NFM) should
have been done earlier for both supermar-
kets and consumers to benefit.
Roger Ramdin, owner of Payless Super-
market, St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain,
said the announcement was made too late.
"This came too late. They should have
done this since the beginning of December.
No supermarket could have bought extra
flour or extra oil and rice," he told the T&T
The discounts of a 20 per cent reduction
in the prices of specific brands of flour, soy-
abean oil and rice, produced by NFM, were
announced by Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar last Thursday at a post-Cab-
inet news conference at the Office of the
Prime Minister, St Clair.
Ramdin said most shoppers would have
bought those basic products early in the
"Those are bulk items as you buy a sack
of flour or oil in large quantity but two days
before Christmas what kind of impact that
will make? People who got early salaries
would have bought these things way before.
Only the people who got salaries very late
would benefit from this," he said.
He showed the T & T Guardian a letter
from the Consumer Division, which was
dated December 20, which he said informed
them officially of the price reduction.
"It was only last Friday a lady from Con-
sumer Division came and showed us the
20 per cent price reduction and we heard
the Minister of Trade spoke about it a little
earlier," he said.
Christopher Low, owner of Sing Chong
Supermarket, Charlotte Street, Port-of-
Spain, said there would be little impact of
this late initiative from NFM to reduce these
"People already bought their rice and
flour already so these goods are not selling
as fast as people may have impacted. I
believe it would have been more effective
it was done earlier instead of this last minute
where nobody saw this coming," he added.
He said the NFM initiative was a good
one though and all income levels would be
attracted to a discount like this.
He added: "Twenty per cent reduction
on anything is a good discount but it is too
late. Everybody buys flour and rice and oil
so it is open to all people but time-wise it
is too short. There is no hope to sell more
of this because whatever stock we have has
already been bought and that is what will
be sold and we will be rebated for it after,"
He said if the Government and NFM did
that again next year he hoped it would be
done much earlier.
"We hope that if this is done again it will
not be the day before Christmas Eve but it
will give supermarket owners time to pre-
pare," he added.
Janelle Lue, owner of Wang Supermarket,
Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, said the
Government dropped a "bomb" on super-
market owners by this late announcement.
"Many of us bought stock since the begin-
ning of December but they said the rebate
would only be off the last bill. I only bought
Ibis flour from my last order. The rice and
oil were bought since early December so I
have no rebate to get off that," she said.
She also complained that the Government
should have explained its move much earlier
and explained it better to supermarket own-
ers to stop any confusion.
"They cannot do this last minute. Cus-
tomers were asking if it was all brands of
rice but I explained it was only the NFM
brands. This is confusion," she said.
Francis Mohammed, a customer, was
happy for the 20 per cent reduction but
wished it was done for all of December.
"Twenty per cent is a good price reduction
but the Government can not just do this
last minute. They could have done this since
Price cuts came too late
the beginning of the month not when people already
do most of their grocery shopping," he said.
Shopper Marsha George told the T&T Guardian
she wished the Government would reduce prices on
more goods next time.
"It is not only flour and rice people use. The Gov-
ernment needs to drop prices on more foodstuff,"
Links Archive December 23rd 2013 December 25th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page