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Long wait for oil price verdict

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Malawians have to wait a little longer before they know if the recent sharp rise in cooking oil is warranted by manufacturers as the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) is yet to finish investigations into the matter.

The commission launched investigations into the matter early this year when it noticed that manufacturers were raising cooking oil prices.

According to CFTC Public Relations Officer Innocent Helema, the commission is yet to finish investigations into the matter.

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He added that CFTC is yet to establish whether there is collusive conduct among the traders and whether the pricing is excessive and exploitative or not.

“Once the appropriate information has been gathered and investigations have been finalised, a report will be submitted to the commission for appropriate determination and relevant sanctions,” he said.

Cooking oil manufacturers raised cooking prices by between 50 and 70 percent blaming it on the reintroduction of a 16.5 percent Value Added Tax (Vat) on the product.

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In its investigations, the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) established that the raise was not warranted because the percentage between VAT and raised prices was not matching.

Capitol Oil Refining Industries Limited Executive Director Ameen Karim defended the price increments saying apart from reintroduced VAT, there were other factors which prompted the raise.

“Crude oil has gone up internationally and Malawi has not been spared but for us we have a double burden which is the re-introduced VAT which our neighboring countries do not have and we will continue lobbying the government to consider removing it,” he said.

The CFTC is mandated by the laws of Malawi to give penalties for unfair trading practices.

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