There will be no increase in the price of 16-ounce packs of sliced bread. The announcement was made by Minister of Food Security and Enterprise, Jose Mai, today during the House Sitting in Belmopan. Cabinet had carefully considered the bakers’ request to increase the cost of the bread given the rising cost of production. Several proposals were considered and the Briceno Administration decided to deny those proposals.
Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “Now I know that there are those among us who are salivating at the prospect of gaining cheap political points off a widely expected increase in the controlled price of this bread. Sadly there are some waiting for the government to increase the controlled price and hoping that poor people will have to pay more only so that they can get on their soap boxes and make all sorts of incoherent noise in a futile attempt to undermine the confidence of the Belizean people. Well Madam Speaker I am delighted to disappoint such persons especially some of my friends on the other side. To them I say no such luck. Your expectations will not be fulfilled. Now to our people who have been concerned that an increase in the controlled price of sixteen ounce brea dis imminent I say to you your government has heard your concerns. Your People’s United Party government has answered the call. More specifically the Honorable Prime Minister has answered the call. Madam Speaker I am pleased to announce to this honorable house and the nation that this PUP government will not authorize any increase in the controlled price of a sixteen-ounce of bread.”
However, the government cannot deny the fact that the cost of production continues to increase. In this light, bakers will be afforded some ease in the form of a subsidy program.
Hon. Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise: “In order to maintain the price of a sixteen ounce loaf of bread at current levels the government will implement a direct subsidy program designed to compensate the bakers for revenue they will forego as a result of the decision not to increase the control price. Madam Speaker I will repeat. The government will implement a direct subsidy program designed to compensate the bakers for revenue they will forego as a result of the decision not to increase the control price. At this stage I can report the following broad outline of the program. The program will feature direct payments to bakeries by Government of Belize. The subsidy program will be instituted in an equitable manner that will ensure that small bakeries benefit from a fair share of the subsidy in line with their output – PUP and UDP owned bakeries. The rate of the subsidy will be twenty five cents per loaf with flour purchases being the basis for calculating disbursement levels for specific bakeries. The program accepts the data submitted by the bakers indicating a conversation rate of one hundred and twenty loaves per sack of flour. The program will use 201 data as the baseline for estimating production levels for specific bakeries with an estimate of 70% of production being the subsidized product. The subsidy program will run from June 2022 to December 2022.”