ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore consumer watchdog to monitor water price profiteering
SINGAPORE: The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) will monitor price increases and watch out for feedback on possible profiteering activities in the wake of water, diesel and carbon price measures announced during Budget 2017, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon in Parliament on Monday (Apr 3).
Water prices will increase by 30 per cent over the next two years, and the Government will introduce a volume-based duty of S$0.10 per litre of diesel along with a carbon tax rate of up to S$20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions on large direct emitters such as power stations from 2019.
“CASE will step up its education efforts to encourage consumers to exercise their choice and make informed purchasing decisions,” said Dr Koh, adding that consumers can give their feedback directly to CASE or through Government feedback channels such as REACH.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry does not see the need to set up a committee to look into profiteering at this point, he said, in response to a question by Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah.
Said Dr Koh: “The measures on water tariffs, diesel and carbon tax announced at Budget 2017 are targeted and are expected to have a moderate impact on overall business costs, with the impact differentiated across industries.
“Utilities cost, which includes water and electricity costs, accounts for a relatively small share of business costs of firms in the services sector, at less than 1 per cent on average for most services industries," he said.
Electricity prices are revised every quarter according to prevailing gas prices, which are indexed to global oil prices.
"There has been a general decline in our electricity tariffs over the past three years due to low global oil prices. The current electricity tariff is around 16.9 per cent lower than that in the second quarter of 2014," he said.
The Government will continue to monitor the impact of Budget 2017 measures on industries and adjust its support policies if needed, Dr Koh said.
“The most sustainable strategy for businesses to manage cost increases and stay competitive is to transform by upgrading capabilities for higher levels of productivity and innovation."
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