Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Trade Ministry urges fairness in supermarket pricing

The Ministry of Trade is urging businesses to be reasonable in their pricing of goods and not engage in price gouging.

This, as the Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT) advised of impending increases on some grocery items, due to suppliers indicating that they would be raising the prices on some goods.

The Ministry noted that only National Flour Mills (NFM) and Angostura have so far advised of increases.

NFM and Nutrimix have assured that the price of flour will remain unaffected.

In the case of Angostura, the Ministry noted that its products are considered luxury items.

The Ministry appealed to manufacturers, importers, distributors and supermarket owners to make changes benefitting both the business and the consumer.

“The business community is reminded that one of the roles of the Fair Trading Commission is to function as a watchdog by monitoring business conduct and claims of anti-competitive practices. It is also imperative that both suppliers and supermarkets examine the efficiencies in their current processes and make necessary changes that will benefit both the business and the consumer.”

While there exists no government control of prices, the Ministry says it forces competitive pressure and gives consumers the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice.

“Consumers are, therefore, encouraged to focus on their bargaining power through comparative shopping and freedom to purchase or refuse purchase of any good or service. Comparative shopping prior to purchase ensures that one capitalizes on the best pricing of merchandise and services.”

The Ministry encouraged consumers to shop around and capitalise on various sales and specials to get the best value for money.

The Ministry assured that price monitoring exercises will continue to ensure consumer protection.

Through the Consumer Affairs Division (CAD), supermarket prices will be published to facilitate comparative shopping.

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