Amid concern that the proposed Consumer Protection legislation will give government the power to meddle in the affairs of private businesses locally, Premier Andrew Fahie has assured that government will only dictate business operations in cases of national emergency.
Fahie gave that assurance to the local business community during Thursday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.
“The only situation in which this Act will intervene into pricing and supply issues is in a case of a natural disaster or a state of emergency, where it is necessary to prevent herding and price gouging of basic essential items. [An example is in] 2017 when two back-to-back hurricanes crippled the territory and certain suppliers held residents to ransom to squeeze an extra buck out of them,” the Premier stated.
“Consumer Protection legislation does not mean that the government is coming to micromanage your business and to dictate how you should price or what profit you should make,” he added.
The Premier further said that, like all free markets, consumer preference and market forces are the “ultimate avatars with respect to marketing decisions”.
The Consumer Protection Bill is currently being debated in the House.
Though being brought before the House by the Fahie-led VIP administration, drafting the bulk of the legislation was spearheaded by Leader of Opposition Marlon Penn during the time he served as Junior Minister of Trade.
Premier Fahie and his team of legislators have all credited the Opposition Leader for his efforts. In the meantime, the bill was finalised and brought for public consultation by the new Junior Minister for trade, Sharie de Castro.
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