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Rajiv Diptee, President of the Supermarkets Association of T&T (SATT).

While President of the Supermarket Association Rajiv Diptee is confident that his membership will be compliant with Government’s new VAT removal policy, he is not so sure how compliant non-members will be.

As such he has called for tougher action by Government for those who engage in price gouging and refuse to remove the Value Added Tax on products.

“They don’t fall under our umbrella…I do believe that more oversight is required,” he said.

On Monday, the Government’s removal of 12 and a half per cent VAT on 58 food items took effect.

The measure was announced in the 2022 Budget presentation by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert.

On Monday, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon said she expects retailers to obey the new policy or face the consequences.

This is as the Consumer Affairs Division will be out monitoring the prices at supermarkets across the country.

But on Tuesday while speaking on the Morning Brew, SATT president Diptee said his association had a conversation about this and believes more needs to be done by the Government.

“This is something that has been on record for a period of time…Government needs to be more strict,” Diptee said.

Diptee said some of these establishments carry a section of parallel goods such as tobacco outside of the no VAT bracket.

“We’ve even seen companies like the local tobacco company such as Witco complain,” he added.

But Diptee said it’s not just about price but also public health.