Lack of manpower to reprice goods challenges businesses, and will affect consumers briefly, says Consumer Affairs director

Businesses are already facing challenges related to the newly
increased Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) and are reporting
insufficient manpower to re-price goods.
On Tuesday, January 2, says Orrin Steele, director of the Prices and
Consumer Affairs Division, the Division was flooded with calls from
various stakeholders requesting information on handling the
The 2 percent hike in the ABST, moving it from 15 to 17 percent,
took effect on January 1, 2024.

While businesses would have updated their systems to reflect the
sales tax increase, Steele says the difficulty lies with having the
manpower to change the physical items on the shelves.
He anticipates that this situation will pose some difficulty for
consumers, as well, at least for this week.

There is a basket of essential goods that is exempted from the ABST,
and the Government has promised that these items will not be
impacted by tax increase.

There are other price-controlled goods that do not attract the ABST.
These are usually monitored by the Division and should not be
impacted by any hike in the sales tax, Steele says.

However, the director acknowledges that while an item might not
attract ABST directly, it may do so indirectly.
As an example, he cites water as a non-taxable item. However, the
bottles in which the commodity is sold might be taxed, he says, and
the ABST increase would be passed on to the consumer purchasing
that water.

That was Orrin Steele, director at the Prices and Consumer
Affairs Division, speaking on State Television.