THERE is an urgent need to review the Price Control Act because it was outdated.
This was recommended by the Solomon Islands Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) 2009 report.
The report said that the Price control Unit is in place to monitor prices and restrict the margins on goods deemed important for the livelihood of the people.
“The function is currently performed by the Price Control Unit of the Consumer Affairs Division of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
“The 1982 Price Control Act provides a legal framework for an appointed Price Control Advisory Committee to monitor and restrict prices on a list of selected goods.
“Price restriction is done based on a certain profit margin above the landed cost,” the report said.
However in practise, the Unit only controls prices on very few commodities, such as fuel and rice.
“The Act as long been outdated, with many of the brands are unaccounted for.
“There is an urgent need to review the list under the Act.
“References to brand names should be removed.
“The list should also be restricted to cover only those that are critical to the welfare of rural and other vulnerable communities,” the study report stated.
It was also highlighted that there is a plan to move the Unit to the Finance ministry, possibly as an adhoc response to increasing public complaints about consumer price increases despite import duty reduction.
“This is not a sustainable or effective solution.
The duty reduction was made on over 1400 tariff lines while the Price Control Act only gives the legislative power to monitor and restrict prices on selected goods,” the report said.
By MOFFAT MAMU
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