Price changes are a function of demand and supply in the market, and it’s not on any sitting government and won’t be for the next one.
This was highlighted by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission CEO Joel Abraham while clarifying how prices will be impacted by the recent 15 percent VAT increase.
He says prices constantly and continuously change, and many factors affect price change, including taxes and freight costs.
Abraham says all these factors do not move in one direction.
He says FCCC is a price regulator, and its job is to ensure that prices in the market are reflective of one true cost, meaning that businesses are not profiteering and exploiting vulnerable consumers.
The CEO also highlighted that two weeks have been given to companies to rectify the price changes on the goods and services they provide.
Abraham says during this period, the FCCC, the Consumer Council of Fiji, and FRCS will be undertaking joint inspections to ensure the system price is all correct and the company is moving swiftly in amending the shelf prices.
He says some major retailers carry 30,000 to 40,000 different line items, and changing the stickers overnight may not be humanely possible, and they have to also think of the employees who will be making the changes.
Abraham says they have over 500 matters in court, and in four cases, traders received a hefty fine for breaching the law.
He adds one trader was fined about $250,000 and ordered to pay $10,600 compensation, while two retailers received a fine of $15,000 each.
The CEO says the reduction of freight cost has also been felt as they have noted that the price of more than 200 items have decreased.
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