Govt aims to tackle inflation

PRIME Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis.

PRIME Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis.


Tribune Staff Reporter


PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said the government is targeting initiatives to combat inflation after the Inter-American Development Bank criticised officials’ efforts to tackle the problem.

He mentioned efforts such as lowering import duty on some food items while pointing to external factors that compound inflationary pressures.

“IDB (has) to see what we have done,” Mr Davis said. “We are targeting initiatives to combat inflation.”

”First of all, what we have to recognise is that there’s external forces beyond our control that’s feeding the inflationary pressures that we are suffering. What we could do we are doing.

 “So for example, we’ve lowered import duty on a number of food items and other commonly used goods that come into The Bahamas. I’ve done that. I’ve engaged in conversations with transportation, with MSC, and other boat owners that bring containers into the country. I’ve been able to get the 35 percent reduction in the cost of containers coming into The Bahamas from the far east.

 “We are working on getting a similar reduction from the US and it’s already dropping. So those are things that we can do by engaging those streams that lend to adding costs to goods in The Bahamas. So each of those streams we’ve been talking to and attempting to lower those costs.

 “We have done what we can and (are) looking at what other things we can do to assist.”

 The Prime Minister was asked if there were any fears the increase in minimum wage will have an impact on the private sector going into the new year.

 “The private sector has not said so and in fact we don’t expect it to have any impact and in consultation with them,” Mr Davis said. “Don’t forget, it’s not the increasing minimum was not a unilateral decision. It was a decision made by industry (under) the Tripartite Council, which includes business, government and unions. So it wasn’t unilateral. So I don’t expect that there may be any fallout.”

 However, last week, Tribune Business reported that a gas station operator warned the 24 percent minimum wage increase will “almost certainly” force the sector to cut staffing levels unless the government grants a long-awaited margin increase.

 The IDB recently pegged annual food price inflation in The Bahamas at 16.1 percent, the second highest in a five-strong Caribbean sample that also included Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. Only Suriname had a higher rate of food price rises, with The Bahamas’ food inflation outpacing the country’s overall annual inflation rate of 6.5 percent.

 In its latest quarterly Caribbean economic bulletin, the agency also said the government’s price controls are a poorly-targeted mechanism to counter soaring 16 percent food inflation as they benefit the rich as much as low income and vulnerable families.

The IDB indicated that social assistance to offset the cost of living crisis could be better focused on poor families through the use of conditional cash transfer (CCT) initiatives that build on existing initiatives such as food stamps.

 The report also warned that the price controls will disproportionately impact small and medium-sized food stores that lack the breadth of product range and economies of scale - in comparison to larger competitors - to absorb selling more items at a loss, or below cost.

 The IDB also argued that only the 24 percent or $50 per week minimum wage increase, which is set to take effect on New Year’s Day and raise the legal floor to $260, was targeted specifically at low income or vulnerable Bahamians.

 All other measures unveiled by the government to combat the cost-of-living crisis and inflation, such as import tariff cuts and raising the VAT exemption on electricity bills from $300 to $400, benefit rich and poor alike.

 Retail Grocers Association president Philip Beneby said the IDB’s commentary on the negative impact of expanded price controls on businesses is “spot on”.

 However, Mr Davis still called for grocers to help consumers.

 “I do not act unilaterally and as I said together we are all in this and together we’ll be able to get out of this so we are asking everyone to pitch in. The government has cut its revenue to enable that to be passed on to the consumer,” he said.


stillwaters 11 months, 1 week ago

It's as if he doesn't even know that he is creating the inflation......Mr FlyAway....


Sickened 11 months, 1 week ago

Why is this donut the minister of finance? Can he even balance his own check book?


hrysippus 11 months, 1 week ago

Thinking about plans achieves absolutely nothing in the real world that we actually live in. The elected officials can do nothing to counteract inflation since they have no control over the means and costs of production.


sheeprunner12 11 months, 1 week ago

Our Government has the "victim" attitude that they use to deflect any attempt to make changes that within their control. The PLP introduced VAT to get rid of customs. Six years later, customs is still crushing certain sectors. Where it has been removed, there is no obvious difference in prices. The Govt is still hiking RTD taxes, environment taxes, bread basket taxes, departure taxes, fuel taxes, property taxes etc. So VAT has made no difference to their budget. Just more cookies & gravy being given out to PEPs.


ExposedU2C 11 months, 1 week ago

VAT was introduced to grow the size of our very costly and grossly over-bloated government. It was never intended to reduce the level of our national debt. They lied about the reason for introducing VAT and continue to laugh at how easy it is for them to pull the wool over our eyes while they go about fleecing us of our hard earned money and then frittering it away on the wastefully plush and opulently extravagant life style they relish and enjoy at our expense. And there are few who waste our tax dollars more than corrupt PM Davis.


ted4bz 11 months, 1 week ago

Iinflation (food shortage, the hunger game) is superficial, it is a part of the WEF lockstep global agenda just like the covid, climate change, and the Ukraine conflict, all made up, and used as WMD, all the same. If you do not have points of reference you'll think these people are helping you, they are not, they cannot, they do not belong to you, they belong to the WEF organization. They are using you, and they are hurting you, for sick reasons. The more they pretend to help, the more harm they inflict.


ExposedU2C 11 months, 1 week ago

Roly Poly Davis is an expert at talking about what he aims to do but never says a damn thing about how he is going to do whatever he aims to do. Nothing but a corrupt politician to his very core who only takes care of himself and his cronies.


moncurcool 11 months, 1 week ago

People who create the problem can never be the ones to solve it.


ThisIsOurs 11 months, 1 week ago

Duties we supposed to be eliminated with VAT. Why are we paying up to 65% for cars and car parts?


realfreethinker 11 months, 1 week ago

And paying vat on duty. These people ain't serious. clowns they are.


Porcupine 11 months, 1 week ago

Politicians are politicians. We are the foolish ones, suggesting they have the brains, fortitude, moral stature and caring to actually make things better for our country. They are politicians, for God's sake. Same as everywhere.


rosiepi 11 months, 1 week ago

Why is this government always aiming, blaming, waiting, (lying) and asking for handouts from other countries instead of doing the job for which they were elected to fulfil?? If only the people who elected these jokers would demand responsible governance…?!


Reality_Check 11 months, 1 week ago

For decades our corrupt governments have only been interested in helping equally corrupt foreign investors capitalize on our tourism product, and to hell with the Bahamian people. Each general election our corrupt political parties promise it will be the people's time but the people's time never comes.

Since May 2017 Bahamians and Bahamian businesses have been taxed to death, quite literally in many instances. Businesses have been closing their doors in record numbers leaving our true unemployment rate well above 20%.

As a direct consequence of the very misdirected and/or failed social and economic policies of the corrupt political ruling class, most Bahamian families today are unable to afford the five essentials for a civilized life: (1) a house or apartment with electricity and running water, (2) healthy food, (3) healthcare including medicines, (4) transportation, and (5) school fees, school supplies, and school uniforms for their children.

Another ten-years of corrupt governments may well be the death knell for most of Bahamian society. All but the political elite and their wealthy cronies would have by then succumbed to the perils of dire poverty with anarchy being the only option for possible change and survival. At that point though, we would have become a failed state that the U.S. and Communist China will bicker over for their own self interest; mainly national security reasons in the case of the U.S.

As a people, Bahamians will have become marginalized and sidelined forever more, much like the Haitians are in their own country today. Truly sad that the current government is about as corrupt as they come and therefore offers absolutely no hope whatsoever of a better tomorrow for anyone but themselves and their cronies.


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