The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works have warned that they will punish transport operators charging exorbitant fares amid Covid-19 pandemic.
In a joint statement, the two entities say minibus operators have in the past months raised their fares by a range of 40 to 200 percent, attributing it to change in seating capacity due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The statement, co-signed by the CFTC Executive Director, James Kaphale and Secretary for Transport, Francis Chinsinga, says despite a downward spiral in downward of fuel prices, bus fares have been raising sharply.
“By charging excessively despite the substantial fuel price reductions, bus operators are in serious breach of section 43 of the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
“The Ministry and the Commission wish to advise all Minibus and Bus Owners that from Monday 16th June 2020, there will be enhanced joint Enforcement and Surveillance activities on all routes to be carried out by the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission,” reads the statement in part.
Speaking in an interview Sunday, CFTC Public Relations Officer, Innocent Helema, said enforcement may include an order to stop operating or fine bus operators found guilty.
The government recently announced measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic which include reducing seating capacity in public transport.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.