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Aug 10, 2023

B.C.C.I. Continues Call for Consultation on Price Control List

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to call on the Government of Belize to hold consultations with its members on the proposed expansion of the price control list. As we have reported, on June twenty-eight, Cabinet announced that government is developing regulations to expand the price control list by thirty food and thirteen non-food items, and to include a fifteen and twenty percent  markup ceiling on these items. On July eighteenth, B.C.C.I. wrote to the Prime Minister informing him that its membership was not consulted on these proposed changes. B.C.C.I. further noted that its membership is concerned about the process in which the policy is being formulated. This morning, Joshua Pott, the Chief Policy Analyst at B.C.C.I., and Luis Ugarte, a councilor at B.C.C.I., appeared on Open Your Eyes where they further explained the organization’s position.


Joshua Pott

Joshua Pott, Chief Policy Analyst, B.C.C.I.

“What we are saying is that we recognize that inflation is a problem but we are not agreeing to the tool that is being proposed to combat inflation, not because we don’t want relief to go to the vulnerable households, but because we don’t think that the tool will benefit vulnerable persons who need help the most and could actually make longer term inflation a bit worst. Price controls globally are used as a tool to control prices on certain goods. They could come either in the form of price floors or more commonly price ceiling and the body of economic literature, through experience, especially among developing economies is the price controls are inefficient, they don’t work. As a matter of fact, they might even benefit wealthier households than they do the poorer households. In its place what is more effective and what we should be considering a lot more are targeted assistance. We can identify who are the vulnerable households in this country; we are a population of less than half a million. We should be able to identify who the vulnerable households are and target assistance to them.”


Luis Ugarte

Luis Ugarte, Councilor, B.C.C.I.

“For one we were not a part of these conversations when they started, secondly we are not given whatever studies were done or how this percentage was arrived at, how the list came about, how it is going to be enforced. Those are the questions we still have and we are still waiting on some answers. So, when you expand that thirty items in the food items and you add the thirteen other none food items you are looking at over a thousand none food items. So, it is not thirty it is far reaching than thirty and that is when it becomes more difficult to police.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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