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CC | Government’s plan related to the increase in the price of basic goods

HomeEconomieDetail en groothandelCC | Government’s plan related to the increase in the price of...

WILLEMSTAD – Considering the developments surrounding the increase in the price of basic goods, Minister Ruisandro Cijntje of Economic Development sheds light on the plans that the Government has implemented in the last two years to address this situation.

Due to various factors, food prices are rising globally, and in Curaçao, we inevitably feel the effects of this. The Government has acknowledged the various challenges that the international price hike poses and has committed itself in its governance agreement to take the necessary measures to mitigate the effects on the general price level. The approach is to ensure price stability or try to manage the cost of living and business expenses as much as possible.

Curaçao imports more than 90% of all consumer and daily use products, which means that Curaçao is dependent on external imports and developments that are practically beyond our control. For this reason, it is very difficult for the Government to lower prices since prices are determined outside of Curaçao’s sphere of influence. What Curaçao can influence is the internal expenses that form part of the price determination components of each product.

Minister Cijntje is extremely proud to see the execution of the aforementioned plan regarding fuel, local food production, and manufacturing taking shape, becoming a reality, and starting to yield results with the goal of mitigating price increases and thus relieving the most vulnerable members of our community. The various initiatives are aimed, among other things, at ensuring price stability and access to essential products.

Ministry of Economic Development (MEO) in close cooperation with stakeholders (other ministries, private sector, etc.) is implementing the following management initiatives:

Price Publication Application – Mi PÒTMÒNI

MEO has created the Mi PÒTMÒNI application (https://mipotmoni.meo.cw/), where the general public can compare prices of various basic necessities and other products, and see where their shopping list comes out more convenient. The initiative started with supermarkets first, and in phase 2, it will continue with convenience stores. MEO is doing this to raise the level of competition among merchants and increase consumer awareness. More competition can mean a potential reduction in prices in the local market.

Basic Needs Smart Card

The Basic Needs Smart Card will serve as a card to provide discounts on basic necessities and other essential products for people with fewer resources. The mentioned discount will ensure that the focus group of those with fewer resources can access basic necessities at a more competitive price. MEO is in advanced discussions with the private sector on this management initiative, and the sector is of the opinion that this initiative provides certain possibilities.

Pilot Agriculture Project

The goal of this project is to reduce the cost of local production and decrease the importation of certain fruits and vegetables. In close collaboration with Aqualectra and the Ministry of Public Health, Environment, and Nature, the implementation of the project began by providing farmers with a reduced water tariff for irrigation. In addition to this, there is an intention to work on the production of so-called ‘greywater’ through reverse osmosis machines, strategically placing them near the largest agricultural clusters. Furthermore, there is a project to cultivate in a free zone, which involves a tentative agreement that MEO reached in close collaboration with CURINDE to achieve attractive prices for the use of CURINDE’s installations and lands for modern cultivation practices. This applies to both the Airport area and the one at Nieuwe Haven. Regarding land for agriculture, MEO is in the process of exploring the possibility of collaboration with the Ministry of Traffic, Transportation, and Urban Planning to facilitate the provision of land for agriculture. This is done with the aim of stimulating and increasing local production, considering there is a lot of land designated for agriculture that is currently not in use. The intention is to try to bring these mentioned lands into operation as soon as possible. Finally, one of the major challenges in agriculture is attracting skilled personnel to work in the sector. In this context, MEO has approached the Ministry of Social Development, Labor, and Welfare to carry out an exercise to identify candidates who can be trained for the mentioned jobs. To assist future agrarians in starting their own companies or help existing ones grow, MEO, together with Qredits, will soon launch an agricultural fund where, at an interest rate of 2%, entrepreneurs can obtain a maximum loan of 100,000 guilders.

Minister Cijntje has the expectation that the prices of basic necessities in Curaçao will stabilize with the introduction of Mi PÒTMÒNI and the Basic Smart Card, in combination with developments in agriculture and fisheries, as well as the management of international trade. In addition, the government has made maximum efforts to open Curaçao’s borders with Venezuela so that food products can enter at favorable prices. Additionally, MEO has increased market price controls and publishes prices in cooperation with the Consumer Foundation. In addition to this, they are exploring possibilities to establish neighborhood markets, allowing people to access fruits, vegetables, and other basic necessities at lower prices.

Another project that is gaining ground is the realization of the ‘offshore floating wind’ project, which will make Curaçao’s electricity production costs highly competitive for local use and primarily for export. Furthermore, the various trajectories that the government-owned anonymous company Aqualectra has embarked on in their energy transition process will bring many positive benefits to Curaçao. Minister Cijntje is determined to continue closing commercial deals that will benefit our country in the form of competitive prices and stimulate international trade.

Bron: Curacao Chronicle

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