GIS – Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs Hon. Bradley Felix has clarified allegations that a $4 million subsidy on rice and sugar was removed in the 2017 budget cycle which had led many to believe that a price increase is inevitable.
Minister Felix called the information misleading, by defining a subsidy in a Saint Lucian context.
“A subsidy is when the government decides to put money into a cost of a product because of the cost of the product, to alleviate the cost so that the product will cost less. That is what a subsidy is. Over the years what has been happening is that the government has been putting an allowance into the budget in the event that these products rise so that we will offset the cost, so that Saint Lucians will not have to pay more.”
Minister Felix explained that the current trend of decreases in the prices of rice and sugar on the world market means government should not unnecessarily inflate its budget.
“The cost of rice and sugar has been decreasing on the world market, and it is unnecessary to put an allowance of $4 million because it is just going to increase and inflate the budget. It was not necessary to include the allowance for a possibility of rice and sugar rising on the market. It was not going to happen.”
Minister Felix assured that the Government Supply Warehouse will help deal with the increase in the event there is a spike in market price on these commodities.