PIB keeps consumers in the dark

02/02/2008 15:36

Oblivious to Fiji consumers, the Prices and Incomes Board on 24 April, 2008 had determined new pricing for rice millers’ wholesale delivered price for the Australian Calrose and Thai Long Grain products. Understandably, the revised prices are meant for the manufactures of the products and PIB has not seen the need to inform consumers of the increase.

The Council is greatly disappointed with such attitude towards consumers by PIB, particularly where withholding important information on price increases of basic food items are concerned. PIB may not have directly revised the retail prices of rice but the increase in the wholesale prices definitely has a bearing on consumers purchasing power of the product. Consumers would be able to better prepare their finances and food expenses if they are equipped with prior knowledge of any increase along the supply chain. With such information they can then expect an increase in the future retail prices of food items without being caught off guard.

The Council survey on 1st May, 2008 had revealed significant increases in the price of rice in shops and supermarkets around the country. Another survey was conducted yesterday following the knowledge of the PIB determination. Unsurprisingly, the retail prices of rice have shown sharp increases in a matter of twenty days. For example, FMF long grain Sunrise 2kg rice was priced at $3.18 but the 1st May survey shows it has increased to $3.54. Similarly, the 10kg pack has increased by $2.84. Show what people paid then and what they are paying now!!!!!

The Council would like PIB to be upfront with consumers on any price determination of basic food items. Consumers should be kept informed at all times even if the retail price is not immediately affected by announcements of an increase but is expected to trickle down to the retail level.