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Kamla’s Eid/Emancipation gift — 20% off flour, rice and oil

By ANDRE BAGOO Friday, July 25 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking yesterday at the weekly post Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. ...
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking yesterday at the weekly post Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair. ...

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday announced a 20 percent discount on select brands of flour, rice and oil in time for the Eid-ul-Fitr and Emancipation Day holidays. The “gift to the nation” will apply during the period July 26 to August 1, the Prime Minister said, making the announcement at the Office of the Prime Minister St Clair.

“This initiative forms part of the temporary stop-gap measure to allow for ease of living, while the Government actively pursue measures to ensure our food security,” Persad-Bissessar said. “Throughout the last four years in office, through these and other initiatives, my Government has revealed demonstrable evidence of our commitment to our people, which is always at the heart of what we do.”

The items to be discounted are as follows:

*Ibis brand all purpose flour (2kg, 10kg);

*Hibiscus brand all purpose flour (2kg and 10kg);

*Lotus brand of all purpose, whole wheat, bakers and cake flour (2kg and 10kg);

*Good N’ Natural brand of whole wheat flour;

*Lotus brand soya bean oil (All sizes – 500ml, 900ml, 1.5 l, 3l, 5l and 17.25l);

*Lotus brand rice (all sizes – 1kg, 2kg, 4kg and 9kg);

*Cuisine brand all purpose flour 2kg;

*Club Select all purpose flour 10kg.

The Prime Minister’s announcement comes after the Government removed VAT from more than 7,000 items in 2012 and also discounted the prices of flour, rice and soya bean oil before Christmas 2013.

Persad-Bissessar said the latest discount will be funded through National Flour Mills, but that company’s financial performance will not be affected as the Government will reimburse all expenses directly incurred in the process of effecting the initiative.

At the same time, Persad-Bissessar said food price inflation — or the rate at which food prices increase — has slowed to the single digits for the first time in 21 years. “It is important to note that for the first time in 21 years, the food price inflation rate has been kept at single digits for the first five consecutive months of this year,” the Prime Minister said. “So some progress has been made, however, we recognise that much still needs to be done.” She continued, “Even as we acknowledge that food prices have been concomitant with global trends, we have aggressively pursued measures to gain a stronger control on our own local pricing and on a broader scale, improve the quality of life for the families of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Prime Minister said the issues of food quality, availability and affordability were raised during a National Conversation meeting with supermarket owners, which took place on May 13, 2014. Out of this meeting a decision was taken to form a Standing Committee on Food Prices, chaired by Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy. The role of the committee, she said, is to collaborate on issues and define a practical way forward to provide a measure of comfort to consumers. Members of the new committee include officials from: the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications; Customs and Excise; the Food Distributors Association of Trinidad and Tobago; the Supermarkets Association of Trinidad and Tobago; the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association; the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago; the Ministry of Food Production; the Consumer Affairs Division and the Chemistry, Food and Drug Division. The Prime Minister said the focus is also on reducing the food import bill by boosting local food production.

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