Businesses told ‘be fair to customers’ this Christmas

- Scarcity of goods already evident

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By Shikema Dey

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The Christmas season is approaching and the atmosphere in main shopping plazas and business districts is not yet festive.

At least, this is according to Chairman of the Trade and Investment Committee of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ramesh Dookhoo who appealed to local businesses to strive to ‘be fair’ this season.

During a candid telephone interview with the News Room on Wednesday, Dookhoo bemoaned the lack of Christmas fanfare in the capital city; stores that are usually abuzz with action have little to no traffic. And this was after an on the ground assessment was done, Dookhoo said.

“Christmas shopping might be a bit more expensive as you go along, people may have to pay more for goods and I would appeal to my colleagues to think about demand and supply and being a little conscious of the fact that consumers have to be given a little deal,” Dookhoo urged.

Ramesh Dookhoo

The business community, Dookhoo said is “hopeful” that traction ramps up by the start of December; noting too that the last two weeks leading up to Christmas are the best for the private sector.

“I have not seen that much Christmas traffic as yet but I believe that the real Christmas shopping starts after the payout of civil servants…the business community is optimistic that this will yield a lot of results to get into the spirit of Christmas,” the PSC Executive added.

He reminded that the underlying issue affecting the season has been the COVID-29 pandemic with major setbacks to the global supply chain.

“We are all in this global pandemic and its consequences together so let us try to be fair, try to sell for a reasonable market,” he added.

Already, he noted, manufacturers and consumers are feeling the squeeze. But Dookhoo said that the private sector has encouraged reasonableness and understanding.

“When you increase your lead time in logistics, it costs you more so we are going to try our best…we cannot dictate what manufacturers can do but we will encourage them to be reasonable in what they do as we move forward in anticipation of the pandemic slowing down here in Guyana,” he related.

Dookhoo said he believes that the government has done a lot despite the cry in some sections of society that more can be done.

“If you look at the way duty is being calculated now – you see the rule government has passed for freight – to be calculated in pre-covid times, the government has helped in that regard and I think that when we look at all the other compensations that have been done, it is indeed admirable and as a money manager, one has to take many many factors into consideration,” Dookhoo reasoned.

He assured that the economic situation is being monitored by the PSC to ensure that Guyanese have a bright and enjoyable Christmas.

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