By Javan Flowers
The Government will take legislative and enforcement measures to punish “price gouging offenders,” this week’s Cabinet Brief announced.
The release states, “With a view to address the rising cost of living and in the interest of protection of consumers … measures shall be taken on a prompt basis to punish price gouging offenders with strict fines per violation through a ticketing system.”
The brief explained that the government will implement a public reporting system via which consumers can report instances of overpricing of controlled items. “Cabinet will also consider other protection and relief mechanisms, especially for essential items, as it continues to closely monitor price movements,” the release added.
According to the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), aggregate price levels for ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ saw an overall increase of 3.4% for the month of December 2021. Overall consumer prices (all items) climbed by 4.9%.
There have been several factors contributing to heightened prices. These include supply constraints and the impact of increasing world market prices for fuel products, as well as inflationary pressures in source markets for Belize’s imports.