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By Aabigayle McIntosh
The Princes and Consumer Affairs Division continues to advise consumers to exercise patience with businesses as they work to ensure displayed prices reflect the 17% increase in the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST).
Director Orrin Steele said that while some business owners have adjusted their systems, they have not yet changed the prices displayed on the shelves.
“Especially if you have a medium-sized establishment, you’re talking about, as I said, hundreds of items, sometimes thousands. It’s not easy to just change over all those labels, especially if you tag them individually. It’s going to take some time as well. So, we’re asking consumers and the public to be a little patient with the businesses,” he added.
At the same time, the Director is appealing to businesses not to delay in implementing the change to ensure that the prices displayed on their shelves are the prices consumers will be paying when they go to the cash register. “Just do it so it helps with the consumers that they know, okay, this is what the price is, eliminates all the calls that we keep getting. And if we have to call you back and go into discussions or send inspectors there to go and verify,” Steele said.
The Ministry of Finance has provided a list of the zero-rated or exempt items. There are over 60 such items included on the list.
Meanwhile, some consumers have complained about price gouging over the past several weeks. The Division is currently conducting its independent evaluations.