Consumers bemoan rocketing prices
By Emmanuel Simpokolwe:
Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) Executive Director John Kapito has bemoaned rocketing prices of goods and poor government services, saying they infringe on the rights of consumers in the country.
Kapito was speaking at Mponera Police Ground in Dowa District on Wednesday during World Consumers Rights Day organised by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC).
Malawi joined the international community in commemorating the day under the theme ‘Be an Empowered Consumer; Know Your Rights and Obligations’.
He said protecting consumer rights is a hard fight as it begins with awareness of the consumers and the capacities of the enforcement agents so that they are able to protect the consumers.
“These rights do not come on their own; they need to be demanded. Unfortunately, in Malawi, when one starts demanding them, you are seen as a devil and you end up being challenged,” he said.
Minister of Industry and Trade Simplex Chithyola Banda said this year’s theme portrays the hardships that consumers are facing due to some unfair trading practices by some traders on the market as a result of the gap in awareness about their rights and responsibilities with regards to business transactions.
He said consumers need to be vigilant and fight for their rights where they perceive that their rights are violated through unfair trading conduct.
“We have situations where consumers fall victim to unfair trading conduct but they are reluctant to approach the trader for redress, let alone report to relevant authorities, because of lack of awareness,
“This, in turn, is detrimental to consumer welfare as they do not get value for money for the services or goods purchased,” he said.
Competition and Fair Trading Commission Chairperson Jerry Jana said the day was set aside to enforce the universality of consumers’ importance.
He said one of the pillars in the commission’s strategic plan is awareness, to impart knowledge in the communities so that they can be able to demand their rights.
“We are getting a lot of complaints from the consumers, which indicate that they are now able to know some of their rights,” he said.
The event is celebrated annually on March 15.