The Committee Against Profiteering Reconvenes with First Meeting of Committee Members
The Committee Against Profiteering (CAP) reconvened on 16 March 2022 with the first meeting of the CAP members, comprising Members of Parliament, and representatives from the industry and grassroots organisations. Chaired by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, Chairperson for the CAP, the meeting reaffirmed the role of the CAP and set out the Committee’s priorities in addressing concerns that businesses could use the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a cover to raise prices.
Ms Low said, “To address concerns that some errant businesses may use the GST increase as a cover to raise price, we are standing up the CAP ahead of the actual GST increase. The Committee’s role is to review and investigate feedback on unjustified price increases of essential products and services that use the GST increase as an excuse. Our focus will be on daily items commonly consumed or used by Singaporean households. We are making available online as well as offline channels for the public to raise their feedback or report any businesses suspected of using the GST as a pretext for higher prices.”
The CAP was first set up in 1994 with the introduction of GST. It was reconvened during previous rounds of GST increases in 2003 and 2007. The CAP will focus on essential food items commonly consumed by Singaporean households, such as eggs, chicken, vegetables and meals from hawker centres and coffee shops, as well as non-food essentials like household products.
On reviewing and investigating relevant feedback, the CAP members agreed on the need to work with partner agencies and organisations, including the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, the People’s Association and the Consumers Association of Singapore. The CAP will engage businesses to find out the reasons for a price increase and evaluate the explanations provided, to determine if it constitutes profiteering on the GST increase. The CAP may make public errant businesses that seek to profiteer on the pretext of the rise in GST.
Ms Low said: “The CAP will not add any regulatory burden on businesses. Its role is to strengthen transparency and enable free market competition to function as it should. As we safeguard consumers interests, we will also continue to support our businesses.” The CAP members acknowledge the pressures businesses are facing amidst global supply chain interruptions and energy cost concerns, amongst others, but note that most businesses are transparent in their pricing. They urge businesses to be transparent with their prices, and not misrepresent the reasons for any price increase as this will mislead consumers. The Committee reiterated that it is not acceptable for businesses to use the GST increase as the reason for raising prices before the implementation, nor is it acceptable for a business to raise prices by more than the GST increase after the implementation, citing the GST as the reason.
Members of public who wish to provide feedback on unjustified price increases of essential products and services using the GST increase as an excuse, can do so via the official CAP website at www.cap.gov.sg from 1 April 2022. Information required will include details of the business as well as the specific product and price increase. All feedback submitted through the website will be reviewed, and further investigated if necessary.
Annex A: List of Members for the Committee Against Profiteering (Updated on 25 July 2022)
1. Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Trade and Industry
2. Mr Hong Poh Hin, Chairman, Foochow Coffee Restaurants and Bar Merchants Association
3. Mr Ernie Koh, President, Singapore Retailers Association
4. Mr Andrew Kwan, President, Restaurant Association of Singapore
5. Mr Lam Yi Young, CEO, Singapore Business Federation
6.Mr Lim Hock Chee, CEO, Sheng Siong Group
7. Mr Loh Wee Lee, CEO, Lazada Singapore
8. Ms Hazel Poa, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament
9. Mr Seah Kian Peng, Deputy Chairman, NTUC Fairprice Group
10. Mdm Amatul Jameel Suhani, Chairperson, People’s Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council
11.Mr David Tan, President, Singapore Food Manufacturers’ Association
12.Mr Yeo Hiang Meng, President, The Federation of Merchants’ Associations, Singapore
13.Mr Melvin Yong, President, CASE
Annex B: Chinese Term for the Committee Against Profiteering