Stop knee-jerk PR gimmicks

 The chaos and trauma that have been visited upon supermarket operators and some consumers with the announcement by the Prime Minister of a discount/rebate on some NFM products shows there was no planning by the Government in the implementation of this measure.

Comments by supermarket operators suggest there was no discussion between the Government and NFM and the supermarket operators. It is foolish to think that supermarkets would be purchasing stock today to sell next week. Had there been the necessary consultation the supermarket operators would have been able to put measures in place for a smooth implementation of the initiative.

Instead, what we have are operators who are saying they are finding difficulty in applying the 20 per cent price cut to stock they have already purchased at higher prices from NFM, while consumers are rushing to cash in on the benefit before the window closes on December 24, demanding the announced lower prices. 

If even NFM attempts to rebate the supermarkets for the stocks already purchased, there is no auditing mechanism in place to ensure that supermarkets are neither underpaid nor overpaid because there is no way to tell exactly how much NFM stock is really sold on the days of the discount. This is a recipe for disappointment and/or dishonesty.

While any attempts to ease the burden on the pockets of citizens is welcome, the Government needs to stop these knee-jerk public relations gimmicks and get down to developing and implementing meaningful strategies to improve the cost of living in the medium and long term.

For example, energies would be better spent in combating the factors that add unnecessary costs to the prices of items and therefore lowering the cost of doing business. Such factors include the additional costs caused by delays in clearing goods at the ports, increased costs in doing business due to inefficiencies at government offices, increase in transport costs due to time lost in traffic jams and the cost of security and the losses due to earlier closing times for businesses as a result of the crime situation, just to mention a few.

The government needs to sit down and formulate a meaningful, workable strategy for arresting the cost of goods and services in the long run and until they do that they are just spinning top in mud.

Alderman Sunil Ramjitsingh

Chase Village

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