Panic buying hurting the poor
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says the delay in assurances from the nation’s leadership right at the outset when it was confirmed this morning that Fiji now had a case of COVID- 19 has resulted in panic buying which is hurting the poor and ordinary citizens.
The NFP Leader said it wasn’t until many hours later that the Prime Minister made a national address confirming the case.
Professor Prasad says a tour around supermarkets and pharmacies in Suva and from pictures on social media, it is the middle and upper class that is buying goods in massive amounts while the poor and weekly wage earners who have not been paid and don’t have savings will have to settle for the leftovers when they do get paid at the end of the week.
“This is socially irresponsible. We know that businesses are taking advantage of the frenzy and panic buying and are clearing their stocks. There are even reports of some overcharging on non-essential goods and pharmaceutical items like the price of masks which have suddenly escalated”.
“But businesses have a social responsibility as well to ensure that they cater for the poor and needy who also shop at their outlets every week when they get paid their meagre wages”.
“The Fiji Consumer and Competition Commission has so far been lackadaisical in not implementing measures that would prevent panic and depletion of basic food and essential items”.
“FCCC should ensure that every citizens has unrestricted access to basic items and that businesses don’t hoard goods and increase prices”.
“We urge the people of Fiji to remain calm and not panic. This is a time to show unity and cohesiveness in fighting this pandemic”.
“This is a time for sound and sensible leadership”.
“This is a time for the leadership to avert a disaster and not create conditions in which it thrives”.
Professor Biman Prasad