President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed the Consumers Affairs Authority (CAA) and Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to closely monitor incidents of consumers not receiving benefits of tax reduction due to non- compliance to fair trade and competitive practices by the traders.
In a statement, the Presidential Secretariat said it received complaints from the general public as well as reports from both print and electronic media that the tax benefits particularly from the reduction of VAT on the sale of goods at both retail, wholesale and import points effective from December 1, 2019 has not passed on to the consumers.
“Among such goods, hardware, ceramics, cement and other building materials, cosmetics and day-to-day household items, garments, school books and several other goods are being mentioned. Further, several retail traders have informed that wholesale distributors have not given such benefits to retail businesses and it is few wholesale distributors and manufacturers control the market disrespecting fair trade and competitive practices. Domestic manufacturers are also requested to pass tax benefits to the people in doing their business in a competitive manner,” it said.
It said President Rajapaksa has instructed the CAA and IRD to closely monitor this situation and also urged the business community, importers, manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors to ensure full benefit of tax reduction is passed onto the consumers and general public.
“Such business community is also urged to create public awareness through media briefings and other form of information releases to ensure competitive practices are respected to the benefit of all. Business community is reminded that the Government is compelled to take all policy measures to ensure anti-competitive market practices are not tolerated,” it said.
It also said relevant authorities, particularly the Inland Revenue Department have been instructed to check all large wholesale importers, manufacturers and distributors in this regard as small retail trade depends on large distributors.