President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has directed the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) to step up market surveillance and protect consumers from unfair trading practices in the supply of essential goods in the management of Covid 19.

Recently, there were allegations that traders had excessively and unreasonably raised prices for essential goods in the management of Covid 19 including face masks, hand sanitisers, thermometers, Vitamin C and gloves. In the wake of the allegations, the Commission conducted inspections in Lilongwe and Blantyre and ordered 17 pharmacy shops to cease and desist from the practice or face stiff penalties.

Speaking in a special address to the nation on 4th April 2020, monitored on MBC TV, President Mutharika said people that want to take advantage of our current situation will be punished.

“I hereby direct the Competition and Fair Trading Commission to increase surveillance and protect consumers from anyone who wants to increase prices of essential goods,” said President Mutharika.

President Mutharika warned that he will not allow anyone to take advantage of the coronavirus attack to exploit consumers.

Commenting on the directive by the State President, CFTC Executive Director, James Kaphale said it was encouraging that President Mutharika appreciates the role of the Commission in the management plan of Covid 19.

“We will do anything in our power to fully implement the presidential directive for consumer welfare and business prosperity. As consumer protection requires concerted efforts, the Commission will mobilise other statutory regulators, civil society, consumer rights organisations and the private sector to join hands and reach all corners of Malawi,” said Kaphale.

Kaphale also said that the Commission has set up a Toll Free line through which consumers and the general public can officially lodge complaints for free. The toll free line numbers is 2489 and can be accessed from TNM and Airtel platforms.

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