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Drop in prices of rice, flour and oil
Consumers are to receive a Christmas gift of a 20 per cent reduction in the prices of all brands of National Flour Mills flour, parboiled rice and oil on Monday and Tuesday next week. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar confirmed that during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. News of the measure was leaked on social media 24 hours earlier.
Persad-Bissessar said “a renewed and invigorated Consumer Affairs Division will be out in force to ensure this benefit is passed on to consumers.” She said the measure “will in no way compromise the NFM as we expect the increase sales will offset any shortfall of income as a result of the (price) reduction. “Should there be a shortfall that is greater than the compensation, the Government will take up the shortfall in this way, making it a gift to the nation.”
She said those products were chosen because they were among the most used by citizens, not only at Christmas but throughout the entire year. “This is our way of easing the financial burden in some measure over the season. We ask that you accept this as a heartfelt gesture from your Government,” Persad-Bissessar added.
Trade, Industry and Investments Minister Vasant Bharath, who was also at the news briefing, responding to questions on the matter, said the rebates would apply to goods purchased by retailers from December 16-24. He said the ministry would have “a fair idea of the actual sales that took place over the two-day period and a rebate will be given.”
He said representatives of the Consumer Affairs Division would be out in full force over the next four days monitoring pre-reduction prices,and would also ensure that reduced prices were implemented on the two specific days. Bharath said consumers should also be vigilant to ensure the measure was implemented at supermarkets, and should not buy the items if the prices were not reduced on Monday and Tuesday. “Insist on it or go elsewhere and shop,” he added.
In response to a question on the financial standing of NFM, Bharath said when the company’s annual report was released in the new year, “You will see that it is one of the best years as far as profitability is concerned.” He said the company was expected to show double the profits of the previous year.
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