Monday, April 22, 2024

Ministry of Trade Declares War on Unjust Price Hikes: Vows to protect Consumers amid Kwacha Devaluation

Listen up, traders, manufacturers, Service Providers and companies like Illovo Sugar, Salima Sugar and Airtel Malawi Ltd! If you think you will exploit the Kwacha devaluation to squeeze Malawians with exorbitant price hikes, think again. The government is on the prowl, and it has vowed to shield consumers from any unreasonable profiteering schemes.

The promise to protect the Malawian consumers is in a statement released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Thursday. The Ministry in that statement noted that it was gravely concerned about the opportunistic behavior of certain manufacturers, traders, and service providers who, following the Reserve Bank of Malawi’s exchange rate adjustment announcement on November 8, 2023, have shamelessly jacked up their prices to unjustifiable levels.

“Some traders have even temporarily closed their businesses in order to adjust prices for old stocks that were already in shelves and warehouses before devaluation. The Ministry wishes to inform the traders and the general public that hoarding of goods and services in order to take advantage of price increase is tantamount to unconscionable conduct against consumers.” In part reads the statement signed by Secretary for Trade and Industry Christina Zakeyu.

The statement further adds that “selling goods and services at excessive and unreasonable prices is a gross violation of the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and as such the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) will not hesitate to take necessary action to deal with traders found engaging in such malpractices.”

According to the Ministry, it has disclosed that in conjunction with CFTC, it will intensify market surveillances on prices of goods and services across the country to establish and gather evidence of possible violation of the CFTA.

The statement has also encouraged the general public to be very proactive in reporting with immediate effect any such possible violations through the following contacts “Mr. Mayeso Msokera (Ministry of Trade and Industry), on +265 999 150 618; Mr. Innocent Helema, (CFTC) on +265880725075. Or through the Toll Free Line:2489”

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