Consumers in St. Kitts and Nevis will soon benefit from the regular publication of a list of prices of essential goods sold in several supermarkets in Basseterre.

The list will provide the convenience to residents of being able to pick up a local newspaper and compare the prices of commodities in C&C, Rams (Bird Rock), Valu Mart, Kings Pavilion, Best Buy and Cemaco.

The twenty-nine commodities, found in this essential goods list, is outlined in the Statutory Rules and Orders (SR&O) No. 41 of 2007 of the Price Control Order of 2007. Consumer Affairs Officer Mr. Vincent Fough explained that his ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, Industry and Commerce and Consumer Affairs was asked his department to come up with this list of essential goods forming part of government?s price control effort. He said the department investigated the goods most often purchased by a middle-class family of four, adding that the information was compiled and sent to cabinet for approval. It was passed and this is what appears in the SR&O which includes a maximum wholesale price per unit, a maximum retail price in Basseterre and a maximum retail price in special districts for each commodity.

The essential goods includes all chicken parts, vienna sausage, dry peas, butter, cooking oil, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as certain types of medication.

The Consumer Affairs Officer said that compiling the prices of the goods for ?A Look at the Supermarket? forms part of the continual monitoring of prices done by his department to ensure that the general public receives quality goods. Monitoring is done by all members of staff but it is the chief duty of Mr. Fough and the two office assistants who take the list to the supermarket, write the prices, back check with the floor managers and bring it back to the Consumer Affairs Offices, where the data is then compiled into an analysis report. Once this is done, the analysis report is taken back to the supermarket where it is again back-checked by the floor manager and then signed by the Consumer Affairs Officer, the supermarket floor manager and the supermarket manager. The analysis report then has the final approval for publication in the local newspapers.

Consumer Affairs Officer Fough encouraged the general public to grasp the concept as it will enable consumers to tell at a glance where they can get their money?s worth. He emphasized that despite the fact that St. Kitts is a small island, like consumers everywhere, residents have rights, responsibilities and choices. The benefits of ?A Look at the Supermarket,? he noted could actually benefit a whole generation.

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