Ministry talking to sugar manufacturer on pricing

Ministry talking to sugar manufacturer on pricing

Post was last updated: January 31, 2023

Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri has decried the rising prices of sugar by Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc, which the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) claimed rose by 76 percent last year.

Speaking on Thursday in Lilongwe during a news conference, the minister said they have started negotiations with the Malawi Stock Exchange-listed sugar manufacturer on the price.

Katsonga Phiri said pricing of any commodity should be in line with the economic factors, stressing that consumers do not have to be punished because of the 25 percent devaluation of the kwacha effected in May 2022.

Katsonga Phiri (R) addresses journalists as director
of information Chikumbutso Mtumodzi looks on

“We have opened up negotiations with Illovo Sugar at the highest level and we hope they will hear our plea that 76 percent price hike is unreasonable,” he said.

The minister warned that if manufacturers continue to profiteer, government could open up sugar imports from Brazil, which could kill the local industry.

But in a written response, Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc  managing director Lekani Katandula said importing sugar would be contrary to Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term plan, whose goal is to produce locally and become net exporters.

He said: “We are currently short of foreign exchange and would do well to focus on promoting local production and help remedy this challenge through increased exports rather than worsen this challenge by killing local producers,” he said, adding that this has the potential to endanger about 30 000 jobs in the sugar value chain.

Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc last year raised the price of sugar twice, with the first raise of 22 percent in May and second of 35 percent in October.

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