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Government pounces on sugar wholesalers

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The Ministry of Trade and Industry has closed five wholesale shops at Bwalo La Njovu in Lilongwe that were reportedly found charging “excessive prices” on sugar to retailers.

Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera has told Times Business that the ministry carried out an inspection exercise on Friday to deal with traders that have been charging high prices for essential commodities such as sugar and cooking oil.

According to Illovo, the recommended price per 1 kilogramme of brown sugar is K900, but recently, some retail shops have been selling it at as high as K1, 500.

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“The ministry carried out an inspection last Friday at Bwalo La Njobvu as part of a routine exercise to deal with all unscrupulous traders who are excessively charging high prices for essential commodities such as sugar and cooking oil,” he said.

Since last month, there has been a shortage of sugar in the country, resulting in the rise of prices.

Times Business witnessed a bale of sugar containing 20 packets that has been selling at less than K20,000 go up to K23,000.

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Illovo Sugar Malawi, which is the biggest manufacturer of sugar, however, has issued a statement refuting the looming sugar shortage speculation and price hike.

Recently, prices of essential commodities, including cooking oil, have been increasing, raising an outcry from individuals and stakeholders.

The Consumers Association of Malawi has also been in the forefront calling on the government to protect the consumer by controlling the prices if need be.

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