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Sep 25, 2023

Minister of Food Security: Ticketing Has Begun for Price Gouging

Jose Abelardo Mai

It’s been a continuous and repeated cry – the cost of living has become overbearing and people are struggling to keep up with purchasing food items and paying their bills. Today when we met the Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai, who is also the Minister of Food Security, we asked him for an update on the efforts to discourage price gouging in the country. While Mai said that inflation is a global problem that individual governments must deal with, he said that in a few days, merchants who are taking advantage should begin to feel the penalties through the government’s ticketing system now in place.


Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security

“While we have inflation in the country, you look at the other countries next to you, and we have, I think, the third lowest in the region, compared to other countries. But it’s real, right? The legislation has been in place now. They are ticketing people now. So, we believe that we will see the effects of that in the next few days. But, it’s not an easy fight. It’s a tough challenge because not only we experience it. Other countries are looking at ways how they can mitigate the effects too, especially, those who are net importers of food. Can you imagine? If you have to import your soybean, import your corn, import your, your sorghum to do animal feed. What would be the cost of that end product? We are lucky. We don’t need to do that. So while our price is still above what people are comfortable with, we are still better off than other countries. The cost of insurance of vehicles went up by how much percent? Do you hear people complain much about that? No, not that much. Go to the medical facilities, any of them you want. I don’t want to call names. How much for an ultrasound? How much for a CT scan? Go across the border. It’s one third the cost. But we are complaining about the food, which is important, but everything has gone up, even the insurance. And I ask why has the insurance company raised their premiums? It’s because of inflation. Hold on. So the price of paper gone up? But food is necessary, right? Some foods we import, some we don’t. But our main ones: rice, beans, produced here have not gone up the way it’s gone up in other countries, you know?”

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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