The Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has described the 2022 festive season as the worst ever for consumers due to high inflation, high interest rate and high prices of goods and services.
Cama Executive Director John Kapito said in a statement yesterday that the life of consumers has already been a nightmare, now worsened by the prevailing economic conditions.
“Consumers are unable to buy most basic goods and services that they need. It is obvious that when Christmas comes, every consumer would want to celebrate. But there is no money around. We urge consumers to be careful with the little money they have,” he said.
Kapito said as people go towards Christmas, there is need for them to remember about their responsibilities and rights and why it would be important to utilise whatever money they have prudently.
“Every consumer is aware that the Malawi economy is in a crisis and prospects for recovery are very minimal. Therefore, it is important for consumers to plan for the Christmas period carefully,” he said.
In the statement, Kapito adds that consumers should avoid impulse buying or any influence by promotions and advertisements, cut unnecessary travel, avoid heavy alcohol drinking and attending too many parties.
Cama further says consumers should pay for their rentals, water bills, electricity bills, school fees and buy enough food to last them in January and avoid using borrowed money from unregistered money lenders (‘katapila’).
In an interview with Times, Programmes Officer for Centre for Social Concern Bernard Mphepo said Malawians need to brace for a tough festive season.
He said the cost of living is so high at the moment it is hard for many households to sustain themselves.
“This is not good for the majority of Malawians considering that most of them have an average income of about K100,000. We should not expect that the majority of Malawians will enjoy the festive season with the economic challenges that the country is facing currently,” he said.
Responding to the concerns, government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said Malawi is being reconstructed and that such reconstruction needs time.
“We have always said that the process of rebuilding Malawi will be painful. We don’t hide.
The pain is a key ingredient to come up with the country Malawians dream of,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Office of President and Cabinet announced that civil servants would wind up their duties for festive holidays on December 23 and return to work on January 4, 2023.