Peru Ponders Price Freezes during Natural Disasters

EspañolPeruvian legislators from the Christian Popular Party (PPC) and the Alliance for Progress (APP) have presented a bill to prevent traders from increasing prices of basic goods in areas affected by natural disasters, Andina news agency reported on Sunday, April 19.

Luis Galarretea, PPC-APP spokesman, said that the law would only be enforced by decree in times of emergency for a maximum period of 10 days, in order to prevent prices rising dramatically as a result of increased demand.

“Heavy rains are still affecting regions of the northern sierra such as Cajamarca.”

The bills supporters argue that businesses unduly raise their prices during emergencies “without there having been any change to damage their ability to sell their products.”

Galarretea offered as an example the town of Chosica, Lima Province, which has recently been affected by heavy rains and mudslides. Social-media users reported that a local supermarket had raised prices because of the natural disaster.

However, the lawmaker clarified that price freezes during a natural disaster will only be made by a national decree once affected areas have been declared as an “emergency zone.” The only products that will be affected are those in stock at the time the decree is published.

“It’s an exceptional matter, a mechanism that shouldn’t be always used,” Galarretea emphasized. His party, the PPC, is largely against the price controls.

On March 29, the government of Peru declared a “state of emergency” in three regions of the country, due to constant rains that have provoked landslides and floods.

In the northern province of Tumbes, the government of President Ollanta Humala requested “exceptional and immediate measures” to support those populations affected by rivers bursting their banks.

Sources: Ansur, NTN24

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