The Venezuelan government’s regulated maximum sale prices for 19 hygiene and household items came into effect yesterday.
The measure comes under the Law on Fair Costs and Prices, which seeks to combat inflation and price speculation to ensure the population can access goods and services at “fair prices”.
The products cover basic bathroom, cleaning, and drink products. Between the different brands and quantities in which each of the 19 product types are sold, 616 individual items are regulated.
Businesses had a one month adjustment period to print the regulated prices on the products after the Venezuelan government published the new price bands, which reduce the items’ prices from between 4% to 25%. Companies that fail to comply can face closure or fines equivalent to fifteen times the minimum wage (US $5,400) or more.
Yesterday the government’s National Superintendency of Fair Costs and Prices (Sundecop) deployed officials to 82 commercial outlets across the country to monitor compliance with the measure, and hand out leaflets to the public to raise awareness of the new prices.
“This is also to invite people to form a monitoring role,” said National Superintendent of Costs and Prices Karlin Granadillo, who added that community council spokespersons had attended workshops to aid them in ensuring compliance with the new law.
Meanwhile, Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua stated that the regulated prices would be implemented gradually, first in large supermarket and pharmacy chains, and then at all levels of businesses. He further qualified the fixed prices measure as “fair and necessary”.
Granadillo explained that the 19 products had been chosen for regulation due to their importance for family budgets and after a study found that from 2007 – 2011 they had increased 400% in price, well above inflation.
Sundecop, along with several other government bodies and Venezuela’s Central Bank, are also preparing to analyse the prices of medicines in order to decide which pharmaceutical items may require regulation, in order to “protect family incomes,” Granadillo confirmed today.