Ms Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what enforcement power is vested with the Government other than to name and make public the egregious businesses who raise prices unjustifiably using GST increase as a cover; and (b) what are the expectations on merchants in order to meet transparency on their pricing and in their
communications with consumers.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling)
1. The role of the Committee Against Profiteering (CAP) is to review and investigate feedback on unjustified increases in the prices of essential products and services using the GST increase as an excuse. The CAP will continue to review all feedback received and will engage businesses, where necessary, to address the issue. The CAP is prepared to publicly highlight egregious businesses which persist in GST misrepresentation.
2. The CAP works with various partners to reach out to businesses to guard against GST profiteering. Businesses are encouraged to be transparent in their communication on price increases. The Consumers Association of Singapore publishes best practices on price display and communication. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore has recently issued an advisory for businesses which need to adjust their prices, on how they should communicate their reasons for price/fee adjustments to consumers. Our trade association partners have also been guiding their members in clearly communicating any price adjustments. For instance, the Federation of Merchants’ Associations Singapore and the Heartland Enterprise Centre Singapore have conducted outreach and walkabouts in coffee shops, in HDB shops and in hawker centres to remind their members of the need to be transparent about their pricing.
3. Consumers can report potential instances of GST misrepresentation to the CAP via three methods: the CAP’s online feedback form; the hotline; or at any of our 112 Community Clubs.