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Minister warns traders on ‘unfair pricing’

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By Emmanuel Simpokolwe:

Minister of Industry and Trade Mark Katsonga Phiri has warned traders in the country against what he rated as unfair adjustments in prices of goods and services.

He said the malpractice impinges on the rights of consumers.

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Recently, there has been an outcry by consumers over souring basic commodity prices in the country.

According to Katsonga Phiri, the government is against unfair price hike, saying some traders are pushing up prices unnecessarily.

He was speaking on Thursday at Bua primary School in Mchinji District during World Consumer Rights Day Commemorations.

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This year’s commemoration, which was organised by the Competition and Fair-Trading Commission (CFTC), was commemorated under the theme ‘Fair Digital Finance’.

He said big retailers and chain stores in major cities of the country have been pushing prices of goods and services unnecessarily and his ministry is summoning some of them by looking at commodity pricing internationally

The minister said traders must recognize that they cannot exist without consumers.

“We have our eyes and ears wide open, our team is all over and if any trader, big or small, is found cheating, the government will deal with them accordingly,” Katsonga Phiri said.

He said his ministry and the CFTC will join hands to deal with any unfair trading conduct including challenges when accessing digital financial services.

Katsonga further said consumers are also faced with challenges of information asymmetries especially in micro finance, fraud, scammers and other bottlenecks in digital finance.

He said it is unfortunate that some unscrupulous traders take advantage of unsuspecting consumers to unfairly deprive them of their hard-earned cash.

CFTC acting Executive Director Apoche Itimu said the commission was reviewing the consumer protection laws and supporting legislation to effectively deal with issues that infringe upon consumers’ rights.

She said, in 2021, the commission resolved about 300 cases of unfair trading in the country.

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