UPP Demands Government Address The Double Digit Rise In The Cost of Living

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

UPP Demands Government Address The Double Digit Rise In The Cost of Living

As we’ve come to the end of the Carnival period, both individuals and businesses continue to suffer from the unchecked double digit rise in the cost of goods and services.

Unsurprisingly, crime is on the rise, without any clear plan forthcoming from the ABLP Administration.

Further, parents are currently under additional pressure, stretching their limited finances to prepare their children for the return of school.

The June 2022 Consumer Price Index, released by the Statistics Division of the Ministry of Finance, revealed a shocking 10.5% increase in the price of goods and services over the last 12 months. Among many alarming rises, Non-Alcoholic Beverages increased by 9.3%, Soft Drinks by 15%, Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa increased by 19.4% and Oils and Fats – including Butter and Cooking Oil – are up 23.3%.

The index for Meat and Meat Products rose 16.9%, while the index for Poultry increased a shocking 25.1%. Compounding the pain in the kitchen, the index for Transport rose a whopping 27.6%.

The UPP is calling for the implementation of immediate measures to curb the rapidly rising cost of living.

For a limited time, reduce Customs Duty on certain food items and on building materials.
For a limited time, remove Customs Duty on essential foods like ling fish, corned beef, sardines, salt beef, pig mouth, pig foot, breakfast cereals, oats, cooking oil and others.
Expand access to the People’s Benefit social protection programme

The United Progressive Party (UPP) Political Leader, Harold Lovell observes, “The high cost of food is greatly hurting the unemployed and the underemployed, whose incomes are not rising in line with the cost of living. Many of the foods which are widely consumed in our culture currently attract some of the highest duties.

The impact of rising global prices is therefore multiplied in the final price of goods on store shelves, putting vulnerable families in jeopardy.

The reduction and removal of customs duties on certain essential foods will provide immediate relief.” He further comments, “Given the scarcity of jobs and continuing unemployment crisis, it is critical to provide greater access to the People’s Benefit Programme. The reduced customs duties will ensure that this assistance affords vulnerable individuals greater access to the goods they need.”

The UPP also recommends diligent monitoring of food prices on store shelves, to ensure that the financial benefits are passed onto consumers.