By Melie Chipula Bayani
Minister of Trade and Industry, Mark Katsonga has resurfaced warnings to business operators in the country, against taking advantage of the current economic situation by charging exorbitant prices for goods and services.
Katsonga was speaking Thursday during the Government Faces the Press Briefing, where he said some business operators have reached the extent of increasing the prices of their products by 100 percent.
“My Ministry engaged with some companies and business operators who shifted the blame game, and we will still engage others like Illovo Sugar Company to learn why they have increased prices of their goods and services that are manufactured within the country”, said Katsonga.
Meanwhile, Katsonga has asked Malawians to promote commodities that are manufactured within the country for the betterment of the country’s economy, while assuring the public that the government will intervene where ever the prices are overcharged.
He revealed that the government has been engaging with some large-scale business operators such as Chipiku in a quest for the companies to reduce the prices of their commodities, who he said are positively responding to the call.
On the issue of smuggling maize to other countries, amid fears of hunger due to shortage of food, Katsonga said, his ministry is working with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and security agencies such as the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) in curbing the vice.
Meanwhile, Katsonga has pleaded with Malawians to strive in stabilizing the prices of goods by accelerating the production of products within the country.
Speaking during the briefing, Acting Executive Director for Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) Apoche Itimu said, the commission has conducted an assessment which has shown excessive pricing of commodities.
For instance, Itimu said the commission has found that among others, prices of cooking oil have increased by 29 to 35 percent, Sugar by 76 percent, Bread by 130 percent, and salt by 43 to 50 percent between the month of January 2022 and January 2023.