A snap check by The Daily Times in some supermarkets and grocery shops has revealed that prices of cooking oil have increased by 48.5 percent within three weeks.
We can reveal that a 2-litre bottle of cooking oil is now being sold at between K4,200 and K5,200 depending on the outlet and brand from K3,500 on average three weeks ago.
A five-litre bottle is now being sold at between K10,500 and K11,600 from K8,000.
A consumer we found buying groceries in one of the shops in Blantyre, Yohane Mpokwe, lamented the trend.
“The government was supposed to engage the cooking oil manufacturers and find a lasting solution to this problem,” Mpokwe said.
Representatives of cooking oil manufacturing companies that we tried to engage on the subject could not pick our calls.
But Ministry of Industry spokesperson Yamikani Kadzakumanja expressed shock over the trend, saying the government was still engaging the manufacturers on the matter.
“We met with the manufacturers some three weeks ago, the main issue they raised was global trends in that palm oil prices have been on the increase on the global market and they also mentioned the need to review some of the taxes they pay.
“We requested that they should submit their production cost lines to the Ministry of Finance so that, together, we can be able to evaluate the significance of the reviews we could do on the taxes and I am sure they have not done that,” Kadzakumanja said.
In a separate interview, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda said the Treasury was conducting interviews to establish causes of the rise in prices of the commodity.
“Once we are done, we will inform the public and find a solution to this problem. When the cooking oil manufacturers submit their production cost lines, we will review and take necessary action,” Banda said.