On the heels of price hike announcements by several major suppliers, from flour, bread, chicken, beer and cereal and juice products, President of the Supermarket Association (SATT), Rajiv Diptee is saying that the removal of value-added tax (VAT) on basic food items would not make a difference in shoppers’ grocery bills given the latest round of increases.
In an interview with the Newsday, Diptee said, “From our perspective, and how that continues to impact prices on how we see them, it (VAT-removal) is not much help when you think about the core food basket.
“We should be trying to protect a class of customers that are the most vulnerable, and as a heavily import nation, there is very little that we in the industry can do. Customers want to know about now because it is now that it has the most adverse effect on them.”
Diptee said supermarkets cannot replace fast-moving consumer goods with items that would stay for long periods, and as such TT would remain an import-dependent country.
However, he noted, “We have a lot of potential with arable lands, creation of our own industries, and agro-processing but we need to find the support.”