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CFTC bemoans limited powers

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The existence of “too many regulatory institutions” is said to be affecting the effectiveness of the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) to protect consumers from unfair trading practices.

The commission’s Executive Director, Charlotte Malonda, has said they are failing to control prices of goods and service as the Consumers Protection Act(CPA), which was enacted in 2003 does not confer them powers to do so.

Malonda said, for instance, in absence of the powers, the commission cannot effectively control prices of commodities and services that most consumers and farmers are getting from traders and service providers from various sectors such as agriculture and finance sector.

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“It’s clear that the Act does not give us powers to control prices, it only gives us powers to ensure that there are no artificial factors that are reducing the supply of maize and other products on the market,” she explained

When the commission met Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises on Monday, Malonda said they cannot act as they are hindered with their mandate as stipulated in the CPA.

Chairperson of the parliamentary committee, Lilian Patel, acknowledged CFTC’s concerns and said the committee will lobby the amendment of the existing laws.

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“The problems we have seen is that there are a lot of overlaps. When it comes to tobacco, there is Tobacco Control Commission that controls the prices and on banks which are characterised with high interest rates there is Reserve Bank of Malawi, so sometimes it is not possible for them to implement their findings,” she said.

CFTC was established in 2005 with a mandate of regulating and enforcing competition and fair trading laws for the benefit of consumers in the country.

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