One local supermarket has announced plans to absorb the price increases expected from the imposition of the taxes announced in this year’s budget.
Fresh Market said it would not pass the increase onto shoppers in July, and possibly in August, to allow for some relief during the summer holidays.
Group Financial Controller Kirk Smith said the new tax measures would be “detrimental to our standard of living and our way of life”.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced in his 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals on May 30 that effective July 1 the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) would rise from two per cent to ten per cent, the duty of petrol would increase by up to 25 cents per litre and a new two per cent tax on foreign exchange transactions would be introduced.
Speaking to reporters at the Villages at Coverley, Christ Church, where the supermarket is situated, Smith said the new fee on foreign currency transactions would be burdensome since most of the island goods are imported.
He added that the steep rise in the NSRL, coupled with the increase in the cost of petrol, could push up the price of goods by ten to 11 per cent.
The natural response of businesses, he said, would be to raise their prices to pass the extra costs onto the consumer.
Not so, in the initial stages, for the new supermarket on the block.
“Starting July 1 our initiative will be that we are not be increasing our prices based on all our new purchases from our local suppliers as well as our overseas vendors. At the end of July we will look back at the initiative to see how well that has been received by our customers and if need be we may very well extend it for another month,” Smith said.