The Minister of Finance, Gaetan Pikioune, has appointed a new Interim Price Controller.

He is Marokon Halilee of Ambrym.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management said it was happy to announce that an office of Price Control has now been set up.

Its prime function is to ensure businesses and traders are not overcharging their customers and consumers as a result of the newly introduced 2.5% increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).

The Ministry of Finance said it has received reports from the public at large that businesses are charging goods way too high over 2.5%.

Public is informed that an Interim Price Controller has been appointed whose task will be to ensure that the Price Control Act is followed and adhered to.

Visits will be made to business premises to confirm if prices are fair or not and to ensure businesses are not charging more than 2.5 % after the introduction of 2.5% increase in VAT at the beginning of this year.

The Price Control Bureau is reminding all businesses that under the Price Control Act, businesses and traders are required to keep proper up-to-date books and records of accounts as this forms basis of calculations of prices.

All businesses and traders are hereby put on notice that one of the main function of the Price Control Bureau is to ensure fair prices are charged on goods and services.

It has been noted that some businesses are charging exorbitant prices. There is a school of thought that goes, “ If you charge a fair price, you will sell more.

In the meantime, an international Technical Advisor (TA) is being recruited to assist in the full set up of the Price Control Bureau.

The visits to businesses and traders will be extended to Luganville, and according to the Interim Price Controller, the visits will also extend to the provinces.

“This is an instruction by the Minister of Finance, Gaeton Pikioune, and the Director General under the Ministry of Finance, Letlet August, for the work of the Price Controller to roll out.

“So, I start visiting all shops in Port Vila, Luganville as of Monday next week.

“This will also be extended to provinces,” Mr Alilee advised.

The new Price Controller holds a Degree in Accounting and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA).

He served as the Director General (DG) in the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Tourism, Cooperatives and Ni-Vanuatu Business for several years, and previously held managerial positions in Vanair domestic airline and the Vanuatu National Provident Fund.

“I am here to fulfill objectives and instructions entrusted upon me by the Minister of Finance, Gaetan Pikioune and the Director General of the Ministry of Finance, Letlet August and the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu.

“I will do it,” says Alilee with determination.

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