TRADE Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said despite claims by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, a number of items had larger price increases under the previous UNC administration, including mauby, curry and pigtail.
She was contributing to budget debate in the House yesterday.
She said Persad-Bissessar, in her budget response, said food prices increased from September 2015 by about 14 per cent.
"And she was very clever and rather disingenuous not to account for the price increases which occurred under their administration."
Gopee-Scoon said the Central Bank report for 2018 said the rate of food inflation stood only at one per cent, and this corroborates with the state of headline inflation. She added the one per cent compared to an average of 11.38 per cent for 2011-2015.
She said for January-May 2019 the increase in food prices was very negligible at 0.2 per cent.
Persad-Bissessar should have accounted for the large price increases under her tenure and done the full comparison, she said, providing a list of items, including:
Whole chicken from a pluck shop – 15 per cent increase under UNC, three per cent increase under PNM
Pigtail – 12 per cent under UNC, three per cent under PNM
Corned beef – 24 per cent under UNC, one per cent under PNM
Saltfish – 19 per cent under UNC, one per cent under PNM
Eggs – 51 per cent under UNC, reduction of eight per cent PNM
Orange juice – 16 per cent under UNC, three per cent under PNM
Mauby – 20 per cent under UNC, two per cent under PNM
Flour – six per cent under UNC, one per cent under PNM
Cornflakes – 41 per cent under UNC, reduction of five per cent under PNM
Curry powder – 23 per cent under UNC, reduction of one per cent under PNM
Infant formula – 84 per cent under UNC, seven per cent under PNM
Soap powder – 20 per cent under UNC, reduction of 23 per cent under PNM
Gopee-Scoon said despite the straitened circumstances of Government from 2015 to the present, it was still able to renew the waivers on the Common External Tariff on a number of products to the extent of $584 million and $344 million to keep the prices of medication affordable.
"So despite our circumstances we still forego $584 million to ensure food was reasonably priced."