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Call for clarification of 20% rebate on food prices

 Former president of the Supermarkets Association and CEO of ADM Import/ Export Distributors Balliram Maharaj has written Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar asking for clarification on Government’s 20 per cent reduction on rice, flour and oil distributed by National Flour Mills.

In his letter yesterday, he suggested that future changes in food prices be communicated to those involved prior to it being publicly announced.

The 20 per cent rebate in prices was announced on Thursday at a post-Cabinet media briefing by Persad-Bissessar and in his letter Maharaj congratulated Persad-Bissessar on her “Christmas gift to the nation”, but pointed out that a lack of communication to relevant bodies was causing a lot of confusion over the rebate.

“I will like to respectfully propose Honourable Prime Minister that any future changes in prices should be communicated to all those involved at least 24 hours in advance or before it becomes public knowledge.  On Friday last, most of my colleagues in the supermarket industry have been calling me and asking for advice on this matter, as some of their customers have been abusing them as a result of this initiative. I advised them to contact the sales staff of National Flour Mills (NFM) and ask for clarification on how to proceed and deal with                                                            this matter, as it relates to rebates.

Honourable Prime Minister I am kindly asking the management of NFM to make a positive statement on how they expect to treat this price reduction for all the stocks already delivered in and throughout the country.”

Maharaj pointed out that food was a sensitive issue since most people would like to see prices in a downward position all the time.

In a published advertisement today the Government, NFM and the Association say the products will be available at a 20 per cent lower price tomorrow and Tuesday and the government will guarantee the 20 per cent rebate to retailers who pass on the savings to customers.

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