Categorized | National News

Food Prices To Increase

President of Super Value Rupert Roberts said with Value Added Tax (VAT) still high on the government’s agenda, increases at the port and on customs duties, Bahamians can expect to see massive hikes in food prices over the next few months.

In fact, while appearing as a guest on the Sunday talk show Jones and Company with host Wendall Jones, Mr. Roberts said while many Bahamians brace for the effects VAT will have on the community, proposals for the controversial tax system are not the sole factors contributing to increased grocery store prices.

He explained that up to four per cent of grocery items at his stores were increased due to increases in customs duties.

“The milk and the eggs went up because Customs increased the duty from 10 to 30 per cent,” he said. “(Suppliers) outside the country increased the price of milk to us, increased the price of beef, increased the price of pork, increased the price of chicken.

“The prices of those things are either already up or in the process of going up. This has nothing to do with VAT.”

Mr. Roberts explained that 80 per cent of the items he sells at his stores are under price control, which means he could only raise the prices on the remaining 20 per cent of items.

The Super Value president added that indicators show that much of what is going on with the country’s finances will cause drastic price hikes across the food industry.

“The public may as well expect that,” he added. “Food is going to go up but the government is going to go to the churches and telling them that they won’t, that they’re going down to 15 per cent or 15 per cent.

“But I’m sitting here telling the nation that they’re charging us business licences, they’re charging us VAT and the public will have to pay.”

Mr. Roberts in recent months his business license fees were increased from just over $1 million to $3.8 million.

He said despite what many think, the recent food increases have nothing to do with them just wanting to make money.

“When something goes up we have to go up or we go down,” Mr. Roberts added. “I saw City Market go, I saw Robin Hood go, I saw Sawyer’s Fresh Market come up from Freeport and they put in millions, they did it right but they’re gone and there’s going to be some more go.”

Quite frankly Mr. Robert said if many of the bigger grocery store chains could not survive the economic climate, the smaller ones certainly will not make it when VAT is introduced.

“I’m going survive, no matter what they do, I’m going to survive,” he said.

Mr. Roberts has repeatedly said that if VAT is introduced he will be forced to reduce his staff by at least 400.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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