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Vincentians could be paying as much as EC$2.40 per pound of white sugar and EC$2.05 per pound of brown sugar, based on the latest prices quoted to the government, the sole importer of the commodity.

Brown sugar is no longer available at most grocery outlets and retailed for around EC$1.75 per pound at most leading supermarkets. White sugar, which is currently available, retails for EC$1.90 per pound.

“…  white sugar has moved from 640 US dollars a metric tonne, CIF — cost insurance and freight — to US$1,100 US dollars per metric tonnes, not cost insurance and freight, FOB — free on board,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on NBC Radio on Wednesday, noting that the increase amounts to over 70%.

“For brown sugar, the current contract price from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), is US$560 a metric tonne FOB, with the freight costs US$64 a metric tonne,” he said, adding that unofficial communication from the company says that they are unable to supply SVG until November.

The state-owned Agricultural Input Warehouse, the only entity authorised to import sugar for sale in SVG, therefore contacted Belize Sugar Industries Limited for assistance, Gonsalves said.

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“They’re asking, in Belize, for $832 a metric tonne cost insurance and freight. You see the number? From 620 something to 832, over $200 a metric tonne for the brown sugar,” the prime minister said.

He said the Cabinet would consider the issue on Wednesday “and to see how we can lessen the pain. There are big number differences.

“One thing which we can give consideration to is if you’re trying to move for the time being the Customs Service Charge on the sugar and associated duties. but it might only bring it down by just about 10 cents a pound.

“Because at these prices, the white sugar would be about $2.40 per pound and the brown sugar about $2.05 at these prices.”

The prime minister said he was particularly concerned about the price of brown sugar because that is what most people use. 

He said that if the sugar from Guyana arrives in late November, the measures would be in place for September, October, and part of November.

“These are the issues which we have to deal with on an ongoing basis,” the prime minister said, adding that he wants a report at the Cabinet meeting on the price of cooking gas “because I like to stay on top of these things. I do my work very well and carefully.

“That’s why we have been able to ease the pain and ease the hardships on people as a consequence of these challenges which we have had to face: COVID, volcanic eruption, hurricane Elsa, drought, the global turmoil in the political economy. Some of the big capitalists — I am not talking in St. Vincent; I am talking monopoly capitalist globally taking advantage of the situation to gouge people

5 replies on “Gov’t looking to ‘lessen the pain’ as sugar prices set to skyrocket”

  1. Yusiff Banditt says:

    So if the Government is the only one who the authority to order sugar, and the Custom belongs to the Government have to pay Custom charges? It doesn’t make no sense to me.

  2. Christy Thomas says:

    Belize brown sugar is already being sold by a Richland Park grocery shop for EC$2.50/lb.
    I am happy to buy this sugar at this price instead of waiting on SVG Government to work out its own arrangements for the AIW-imported sugar. Thank God for the private sector and the flexibility allowed by the official importer which is unable to keep the sugar wholesale market satisfied.

  3. So let’s get this, the government is the sole importer of sugar. Why not allow business to import sugar as to lessen the pain that the population is feeling. Government control and setting prices does not lessen the price, government prices are always inflated.

    But again, the Vincentian got what they voted for.

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