Malawian government grants traders sugar importation licenses amid acute shortage

  • World
  • Saturday, 16 Mar 2024

LILONGWE, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The Malawian government has granted 20 traders licenses to import sugar amid the growing sugar shortage in the country since January.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry confirmed the development to local media Friday, saying the 20 traders have been licensed to import the commodity from Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Brazil "to increase sugar availability on the domestic market."

Traders in Malawi have taken advantage of the scarcity of sugar, inflating the commodity's price to almost double, a development that has seen the Ministry of Trade and Industry shut several shops in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

The closure of shops followed a recent joint inspection by the ministry, together with the country's Competition and Fair-Trading Commission, in which they confirmed that consumers of sugar were exorbitantly charged.

The recommended wholesale price of brown sugar in Malawi is 37,500 Malawian Kwacha (about 22.12 U.S. dollars) per bale of 20 x 1 kg packets but, according to the findings of the inspection, wholesalers pegged the price of the same at 69,000 Malawian Kwacha. Consequently, retailers have inflated the price of sugar from the recommended 2,225 Malawian Kwacha for 1 kg packet to 3,800 Malawian Kwacha and, in some cases, even up to 4,000 Malawian Kwacha.

The ministry has since threatened to continue with the inspection exercise and forthwith closure of outlets that will be found contravening the recommended prices of the commodity.

Meanwhile, Zambian sugar has found its way into Malawi's central and northern regions, selling at 2,800 Malawian Kwacha per 1 kg packet, a price many Malawians are finding affordable.

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