The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is calling on businesses to Refrain from Price Gouging as Guyana records its fourth confirmed case of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Since the confirmation, local businesses have been jacking up prices for essential products such as detergent sprays, hand sanitizers, face masks, etc.
The Competition and Consumers Affairs Commission has stated publicly that it is not mandated by law to deal with such instances of price gouging. It has employed moral suasion, with hope that business owners will exercise some sort of restraint.
In a release to the media earlier today, the GCCI listed several recommendations, and among them, the Chamber said that businesses that are suppliers of preventative sanitization products and pharmaceutical supplies should not engage in the blatant and inconsiderate price hikes to products needed to fight the COVID-19 Virus.
“We are only strong as our weakest link. Be cognizant that many are void of financial resources. Price gouging of products automatically creates a barrier to the less fortunate. Businesses are encouraged to be ethical and compassionate. Be fair in the pricing of products and medication relevant in the fight of COVID-19,” the GCCI said.
On Wednesday, March 11th, 2020, Guyana recorded its first case of the COVID-19. The Ministry of Public Health subsequently reported three additional cases directly related to the deceased. In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has since declared the spread of COVID-19 as pandemic due to the sustained risk of further global spread.
In addition, the Chamber encourages business leaders to play their part in the fight against the virus by taking responsibility and implementing the measures recommend by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which include:
1. Eradicate Fear & Panic Through Education. The COVID-19 virus produces mild symptoms in 4 out of 5 individuals with the disease. The virus becomes detrimental to high risk groups such as individuals with health complications and the elderly. It is our duty to share credible and accurate information with our team members and loved ones.
2. Fact Check Before Sharing Information. There are many COVID-19 myths in circulation. The WHO have debunked a few with the COVID-19 myth buster infographic. As leaders, we should be cognizant of the information we share. Verify the credibility of information before sharing to team members and loved ones.
3. Keep Your Environment Clean. The way to fight the COVID-19 virus is simple – keep clean. The WHO encourages organisations to sanitize working environments daily. For business leaders with available resources, we implore you to transfer the vigour of cleanliness to your wider community.
4. Mandate Sanitary Practices. Encourage team members and loved ones to engage in sanitary habits. Work sites should be equipped with the relevant sanitisation products. At minimum, workers should have access to Soap and water.
5. Manage Employee Relations and Contact. All employees should be screened. If employees showcase symptoms associated with COVID-19, please do not hesitate to approve and administer sick leave. This is in the interest of the health of your organisation.
6. Incorporate Smart Working. Conduct an impact assessment on your organisation. Identify the areas where social distancing can be implemented. In the digital age, virtual platforms such as zoom and skype are great alternatives to hosting physical meetings.