Bahamas: When asked about the possibility of the Government introducing legislation to alleviate the burden on consumers, The Minister of Economic Affairs, Hon. Michael Halkitis said “it’s something to look into but the government can’t regulate the market…and hopefully it’s one of those things that go in cycles”
This tells me that this Government intends to take a completely hands-off approach and turn a blind eye to the struggles of ordinary Bahamians.
The statement that Government can not regulate the market is just untrue. One of the main functions and responsibilities of any Government is to regulate markets and ensure that citizens and consumers are treated fairly. URCA regulates the airwaves, the Securities Commission regulates the financial services industry, and The Price Control Act provides the ability for The Government to regulate the price of goods and services and matters incidental and or connected to the sale of these items.
The Government urgently needs to do more. Bahamians are being crushed under the heavyweight of high prices that continue to climb and the Government seems set on taking a hands-off, wait-and-see approach to the matter.
So, my question to the Government is, what are they doing to alleviate and/or ensure that Bahamians are not being price gouged on the necessities?
The FNM has repeatedly warned the Government that their decision to add 10% VAT on all breadbasket items, medicines, and essentials will increase the hardship on lower and middle-class Bahamians while providing a 2% tax cut to the wealthy homeowners. The prices that we are seeing today are proof that the PLP’s 10% VAT increase is nothing more than a tax hike in disguise that has compounded the effects of inflation.
Bahamians are suffering and the Government must step up and do more.