Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre says that by adopting measures such as consuming more locally produced goods and growing more local food, Saint Lucia can reduce the current ‘imported inflation.
The Prime Minister, an economist by profession, made the remarks in response to a reporter’s question about rising food prices.
“As I explained in parliament on Tuesday, the high prices of food – basically foods that are imported, we have absolutely no control over it because it is what we call imported inflation,” Pierre observed.
“These prices come from goods that are brought from out of the country and the increases are due to circumstances out of the country- circumstances due to COVID, circumstances due to problems with the supply chain so we have absolutely no control over these prices,” he expressed.
“The only control we have in Saint Lucia is that we can adjust or amend the duties and the VAT paid on these items in Saint Lucia, but that means that you have to weigh the circumstances, you have to weigh the consequences. That will cause a drop in revenue,” the Castries East MP noted.
In this regard, Pierre said the government had to do a cost-benefit analysis to see the effect on the economy and the people’s quality of life of the lost revenue.
“The only way we get revenue is from import duties, from VAT and from taxes. That’s the only way we can collect any revenue or loans. So the idea of people saying that we can do something about the cost of goods that really is a fallacy – it almost doesn’t make any sense,” he asserted.
“What we can do is we can use what goods we produce in Saint Lucia. We can improve our food security by using, consuming locally produced foods,” Pierre explained.
However, he pointed out that there’s still the issue of the rising prices of inputs like fertilisers to consider.
Nevertheless, he disclosed that the government is working to address the problem of rising food prices which did not arise overnight but worsened due to COVID-19 and issues in the supply chain.