Should Government control prices on fuel, rent and essential food items?

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Should Government control prices on fuel, rent and essential food items?

Prices are out of hand and people are hurting

Introduction

I know that there are many people who are against price control and therefore would rather have an economy that is market driven. I am also aware that prices are increasing worldwide and so consumers will continue to face an increase in prices.

However, to protect the consumers financially, the Government needs to step in and control the prices on fuel, rent and essential food items. The Government can do this by setting minimum and maximum prices on certain items and this can be further achieved if the Government reduces the duties on certain items.

You see consumers don’t trust the merchants and they don’t believe some merchants are applying any savings to the price of goods and so the best way to do control this is to have a price control.

For this article, I did a survey on the prices of fuel, groceries and rent and compared them among the various places on the islands of Providenciales as well as the Nassau, Bahamas, and Miami Florida.

Fuel prices

On the island of Providenciales, regular gas price at one gas station is $6.62 and diesel is $6.50.  Another gas station, the price for regular gas is $6.45, premium is $7.09, and diesel is $7.05. Another gas station, the price for regular gas is $6.30 and diesel is $5.94.  One gas station, the price for regular gas is $6.49 and diesel is $5.96. Another gas station is $6.99, and the diesel is $5.90. Another gas station, the price is $6.47 for regular gas and $6.93 for premium.  Another gas station, the price for regular gas is $6.45, premium is $6.99, and diesel is $6.59.

On the island of Nassau, I was only able to get the price for regular gas. One station, the price was $6.25 per gallon and the other two stations, the price was the same at $6.19 per gallon.

In Miami Florida, the price for regular gas is $4.11 per gallon, mid-grade is $4.50, and premium is $4.79

As you can see, these fuel prices varied, and I know the price of fuel is increasing worldwide but there must be some control over these prices, and this can be achieved through a significant reduction in duty. To ensure that it is passed onto consumers, the Government should control the selling price. There was a member of Parliament from Bermuda who was visiting in TCI, and he informed me that in Bermuda, the Government has a price control on fuel.

Groceries

The price for groceries is very interesting on the island of Providenciales. For example, the price for the exact item is different even though it is sold by the same group of company. In one store, bread is $3.55, ribs, $11.87 per pound, bananas $1.75 per pound, bag of apples for $5.70 and medium eggs $7.79. In another store, apples was $5.89 per bag, bananas $.99 per pound, bread $3.5, ribs, $9.79 per pound, cut ribs $4.79 per pound, grace corned beef $3.90, flour $5.09, eggs, $7.79, 10 pounds of le quarter $9.00, gallon of milk $4.99, sausage $3.29. In another store, gallon of milk is $6.75, bag of apples $5.29, bread $3.55 and corn beef are $3.99.  Another store, the corned beef is $3.79, tuna $2.15, l0 pounds of leg quarters is $9.28, bread is $3.51, bananas $.97 per pound, flour is $4.89, sugar is $4.65. In another store, grace corned beef is $3.69, milk is $6.75, medium eggs (12) for $5 while the large eggs (18) are $6.23

In Nassau, eggs are $4.90 and with VAT is $5.39, parboiled rice is $3.79, frosted cornflakes (24 oz) is $5.49, ketchup is $2.69, margarine $1.01, gallon of orange juice $7.69, turkey wings 1.89 per pound, chicken leg quarters (10punds) is 13.07, pork chops 2.29 per pound, chicken wings $2.41 p, tomatoes 1.29 per pound, onion, 1.29 per pound, limes 89 cents, bananas 99 cents per pounds, robin hood flour 5.49, green pepper 3.49 per pound, oranges 2 for 1.78, sunny delight $3.39, lemon 2 for 99 cents

In Miam Florida, hot dogs $2.58, bread $2.98, gallon of milk $4.25, eggs $5.00, 41b sugar $2.12, Wesson oil $4.68, tomatoes are 99 cents per pound, 31b bag of oranges $4.34, onions $1.00 per pound, grapes $3.38 per pound, apples $1.25 per pound.

Like fuel, the Government should significantly reduce the duty rates for a short period and implement price controls so that the consumers can benefit.

Rent

The average one bedroom on the island of Providenciales is between $1,000 and $1500 while the average two bedroom is ranging between $2,000 and $3,000.  These prices are like the rent prices in Miami and of course depending on the area, the prices are even higher.

The rent prices in Nassau are less than the rent prices in Providenciales but again it also depends on the areas in Nassau, the prices can be the same as Providenciales.

I don’t think the rent prices have to be that high. I can guarantee you if the country were to experience a downturn in the economy, landlords would reduce the rent. I am quite aware that some landlords have set their price high to attract a caliber of tenants and I am quite aware that the cost of construction is very high but despite this, the price of rent needs to be controlled.

Conclusion

I don’t know how the average person in the Turks and Caicos is making. These prices will drive people into poverty and will encourage people to build illegal shacks for accommodation.

I know the arguments against price control are perhaps valid, but something has to be done to help the individuals to survive and thrive in this high price environment.

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