George: Do away with price control policies
October 19, 2007

George: Do away with price control policies

Do away with price control policies that have hamstrung businesses; create a more business friendly environment, and businesses will be more prepared to handle the challenges of a globalized, free trade based world.{{more}}

President of the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Jerry George, made these recommendations, in response to recent statements made by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as regards the challenging environment that will exist as free trade continues to change the way business is done worldwide.

Dr Gonsalves had challenged local industries to step up their game, saying that the new global market will increase competitiveness. He also said that government is willing to invest in one or two of the industries, and even into individual enterprises to help bring them up to the required standard.

This he said will be done to “tool or retool those industries to levels that are internationally competitive.”

“The solution to the problem is not investment by the Government,” George however told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Government has to provide the policy framework for businesses to do business,” he said.

One of the policies that must change, according to George, is the price control policy that is in effect, what he terms “a construct of the past that has failed.”

George said that there is no need for the Prime Minister to be scared about what the removal of price control will mean for consumers.

“The market will take care of that,” George said.

He cited telecommunications rates, which he said began to go down, only when competition, broke the monopoly in the market.

George is a senior executive of Digicel, the Irish telecommunications giant, which has been in a heated telecommunications battle, in several market places, including St Vincent and the Grenadines with its British rival, Cable & Wireless.

He told SEARCHLIGHT that in an environment of free trade, it will be difficult for local industries to compete if their growth is restricted by price control.

“It will stifle businesses,” George said.

He however placed some responsibility at the feet of local industries, saying that there needs to be more aggression in the business community, driven by fresh ideas.

“We have too much duplication, people need to be encouraged to think differently,” George said.

The Chamber head further said that he believes that the time for solely family owned and run businesses is over.

“We can’t have the attitude of keeping it small enough for me and my family to run,” George said.

He said that some businesses need to become more public, allowing people to acquire shares, and feel a part of the businesses development. (KJ)