The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT) is ensuring that its membership is fully compliant in the interest of the consumer because they want to ensure some form of relief is being passed on to the final customer.
In a release dated November 12th, 2021 SATT detailed that on the 1st of November 2021, over three thousand (3000) items were impacted by the removal of VAT based on the categorization of products read in the annual budget.
The association said that with such a great deal of inventory items however, it was always to be expected that most stores would experience minor issues by way of classification of products. SATT confirmed that the bulk of the identified items had VAT removed by November 1st 2021 in a timely fashion.
“We wish to note that not all supermarkets, neighborhood shops and parlors fall under the umbrella of SATT. Therefore, where some stores are in a transitional phase or not compliant at all, that will fall at the remit of the relevant statutory body. SATT ensures its membership is fully compliant in the interest of the consumer because we want to ensure some form of relief is being passed on to the final customer.”
The release further added: “We also wish to point out that there is still some level of ambiguity where some suppliers of goods are still assessing and finalizing tariff classifications as this is the way point for determination by that supplier whether the product is VAT exempt or not. It is expected that if this is still happening that there will be a transitional phase for some products.”
While SATT acknowledges that the removal of VAT is a form of consumer relief during the pandemic “We wish to remind the public that this relief came amid the worst year on record for escalating food prices due to the chronic global supply chain issues being experienced. The removal of VAT does not revoke the impact of global inflation and the price increases being passed on by domestic suppliers to supermarkets because of this situation. Food price increases are taking place due to worldwide shortages and shipping delays. Prices are not expected to remain static as Trinidad and Tobago remains a net importer of goods and, as such, are directly affected by externalities on the global marketplace.”
SATT said it continues to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that no question marks linger over the removal of VAT. “We care deeply about the nation’s customers and want to ensure they receive the best prices at all our member stores.”