Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Expense of baking bread goes up: GOB regulates price

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As inflation continues to affect the country, the cost of another essential staple, the sliced pack bread, is going up. In San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, a loaf of regular bread is currently $3, and the wheat bread is around $4.50, depending on the vendor. Bakers have reportedly been asking the government to increase the price because they are operating at a loss. However, the government’s Supplies and Control Unit informs that the 16-ounce pack of bread is subject to price control, and the cost should not increase. At the same time, the Unit indicated that there had been no increase in the price of flour yet.

In San Pedro, some packs of sliced bread usually exceed 16 ounces in weight, excluding them from the price-controlled items. However, the price has reportedly increased. The Supplies and Control Unit told the media that flour prices have not increased. There is a request to raise flour prices by 10%, but this must be approved by Cabinet before anything is official on this essential product.

The Controller of Supplies of the Supply and Control Unit, Lennox Nicholson, shared that if the product’s purchase cost (flour) has not changed as yet, there is no justification to take up the retail price at this time. But the fact is that other elements involved in the production of bread have seen cost increases. Nicholson mentioned increases in the cost of items like cooking material, packaging, fuel such as liquid petroleum gas, and the distribution that requires fossil fuels all impact the final product.

The government finds it illegal to raise prices on price-controlled items without its authorization and advises the public to report any establishment engaged in price gouging. As a result, the Supplies and Control Unit is planning to increase its presence in the market for monitoring.

In the meantime, a Cabinet paper will be put together regarding this matter, and hopefully, it can be addressed at the next House Sitting in the National Assembly. A decision should be taken on how the country moves regarding the increase in costs of price-controlled food items.

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