Businesses urged to use ‘moral suasion’ during COVID-19 episode

DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 13, 2020

With the recent report of Guyana’s first Novel Coronavirus case, local pharmacies and stores have seen a significant increase in sales of hand sanitizers, face masks and disinfectant.

Along with the increase in sales, it has been noted that some outlets have also increased their prices for these items. Anita Joseph and Joel Alexander two customers who spoke to DPI both agreed the price hikes will affect those persons who cannot afford to spend such large amounts.

With several persons taking to their social media platforms to report the price increases, the Guyana Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission (CCAC) has called on businesses to use “moral suasion” at this time.

Speaking with DPI, Director of Consumer Affairs Muriel Tinnis- Duke noted with the free market system the proprietors are allowed to sell at a price of their choice.

Meanwhile, CCAC’s Communications Officer, Allison Parker in a telephone interview today with DPI stated that “while the commission has no legal standing to regulate prices, we wish to use moral suasion in our appeal to suppliers to revert to the common prices for the items they are now gouging on.”

Parker noted that it is a national health emergency and appealed to suppliers to “put your countrymen over excessive profit.”

Note: A free market system is an economy that allows the market to decide the prices of goods and services by way supply and demand, thereby reflecting individual preferences using direct resources.