CAMA accuses Government spokespersons of misinforming consumers reasons behind current high prices

 

By Duncan Mlanjira

Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) has accused government spokespersons, including Ministers, for misinforming consumers on the reason behind current high prices of commodities, saying they should ensure that they have adequate information regarding its real triggers.

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In a statement issued on Friday, November 19, CAMA says the “misleading statements that are coming from Government spokespersons and Ministers can be a recipe for unnecessary civil unrest”.

CAMA observes that the increase of prices is expected “to continue to rise as the Kwacha continues to be weaker and the continued high global demand against reduced global supply of various products as a result of CoVID-19 lockdowns will continue to have a trigger negative effect on global prices such as crude oil and others”.

“It must be noted that Malawi is a net importer and prices of goods coming into Malawi are influenced by many factors and most of them are external.

“We are also appealing to all traders and importers to ensure that they are importing their goods from reputable suppliers and refrain from exploitative high profit margins,” says CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito.

Minister Kazako

On Tuesday this week, Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako held a press conference in Lilongwe where he attributed the increase of commodity prices to global fuel hike.

He had said he made the clarification after concerns from Malawians upon sudden increase of essential commodities, saying the drastic increase of fuel price was one of the factors that have contributed much on the rise of different commodities in the country.

“In the past four months, we have seen that the prices of essential commodities have risen to the dismay of Malawians who have no capacity to survive but this is not our making, it’s something that has affected the whole world,” he had said.

Kazako also took cognizance that commodity prices have gone up as a result of the CoVID-19 pandemic which has hit the economic status of countries that Malawi depends on.

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He also said government was fully aware of the hard situation that Malawians are passing through and it was trying all efforts to improve the situation and asked the public to “work together with government of Malawi in conquering such problems”.

As collected by CAMA, the high price increases on certain basic goods and services from October 2020 to November 2021 include locally refined cooking oils — with Mulawe going up by 146% and Kukoma by 98%.

They are followed by both bathing and washing soaps — Butex up by 75%, Lifebouy by 51%, OMO Powder by 45% and Boom Powder by 63%.

“Looking at these increases, especially on cooking oils which have gone up by almost over 100%, one would not attribute such an increase to the reintroduction of 16.5 % value added tax (VAT) — the key drivers for these increases are as a result of high import costs and the weakening of the kwacha,” Kapito said.

CAMA Executive Director, John Kapito