Government through Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has fired warning shots at business players who are taking advantage of cement scarcity in the country to hike prices.

Persistent power cuts that have hit the country of late have forced most companies who produce cement to reduce production thereby causing the products to be scarce.

Due to high demand business players have hiked the prices of cement and now is going at MK10,000 from MK6,500.

In a statement released on Friday, government was warned such business players to desists from that.

“The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has observed with concern that there is scarcity of cement on the market. The Ministry has further noted with regret that following the current scarcity of cement, vendors and sellers of cement have taken advantage of the prevailing situation by overcharging the commodity. The Ministry has held discussions with the cement industry on the matter as well as issued import permits for cement in order to fill the existing gap of cement supply.Government is also casting the net wider on sources of supply to make sure that traditional cement sources are not overstretched.

“In addition, the Government has done its research on the prices of cement and concluded that the average retail market price of a 50 kg bag is between MK6,000.00 and MK6,500.00. However, some unscrupulous business persons have taken advantage of the situation by charging up to MK10,000.00 per 50kg bag of cement. In this regard, Government will take punitive measures against anyone offering prices higher than the recommended ones in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Laws of Malawi,” reads in part the statement signed by Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism.

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