Eighteen permits issued for chicken imports

…following concerns about price gouging

The Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce has told Stabroek Business that arising out of concerns expressed in the local poultry sector that artificial shortages are being created to force price increases, permits have been granted to eighteen importers to secure chicken from the United States and Suriname.

Ministry spokesman Derrick Cummings told Stabroek Business in a telephone interview yesterday that official monitoring of chicken supplies and prices had led to a meeting between officials of the Ministry and representatives of the Guyana Poultry Producers Association and the Guyana Livestock and Dairy Association.   Cummings said that at that meeting the Ministry had received assurances that while “issues” had arisen over the less than timely arrival of hatching eggs in the country no shortage was anticipated and price increases were unlikely.

However, according to Cummings, the decision to grant permits to import chicken was based on discourses which the Ministry had had with local businesses including restaurants with a high demand for chicken. Beyond that, he said that the Ministry had received reports recently of chicken prices increasing from around $360.00 per pound to in excess of $400.00 per pound.

Cummings told Stabroek Business that while in previous years government had allowed permit holders a 40 per cent rebate on duties paid on chicken imports, this time around a decision had been taken to charge duties equivalent to 100 per cent of the cost of the chicken. “It is a matter of doing things in such a way as to protect the local industry,” Cummings said.

According to Cummings the permit holders were taken from a list of businesses that “customarily apply for such permits.” He said that the permits which were issued a fortnight ago allow for the importation by each permit holder of quantities of between 60,000 pounds to 120,000 pounds and would expire in January next year.