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Show same enthusiasm when duty is reduced: Consumer Council

July 10, 2017 6:00 pm

Some traders have already started charging 10 cent tax on plastic bag to consumers at the point of sale which should not be the case.

This has been confirmed by the Consumer Council as it has been brought to their attention since the announcement of the 2017/2018 national budget.

Consumer Council’s Chief Executive Premila Kumar says traders and supermarkets must wait for the application of the new tax which will commence from 1 August next month as announced by the Minister of Economy.

The Council would like to see the same enthusiasm from traders when duty and other taxes are reduced to benefit consumers.

Kumar adds that it’s generally seen that some traders do not act immediately in such situations yet are very quick to increase prices when there is an increase in duties and other taxes.

The Council received calls from the consumers regarding the price increase on cigarettes, alcohol/liquor and sugar-sweetened drinks.

She says there were reports that merchants increased the price of their old stock of goods (cigarettes and alcohol) on which duty was increased straight after the budget announcement.

Kumar says this shouldn’t have happened because the new duty rate and other changes relating to the Customs Tariff Act following the budget announcement should apply to goods arriving for the first time in Fiji by ship or aircraft, or on all uncleared cargo after midnight on 29 June last month.

While the Council fully supports the cause and encourages consumer cooperation, it however, wishes to remind traders and supermarkets to engage in ethical practices.

Kumar says consumers have a social responsibility towards the environment and in exercising their responsibility they are urged to use alternative bags and baskets in place of single-use plastic bags.

For too long plastic bags have contributed to the environmental pollution further endangering the oceans and marine life.