The Ministry of Trade has warned business owners in the country to cease and desist from engaging in unfair and anti-competitive trading practices.
Recently, the Ministry of Trade, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) conducted joint investigations, which established a number of unfair and anti-competitive trading practices.
Among others, the investigations observed enormous anti-competitive and unfair trading practices, which include failure to display prices of goods, unreasonable price increases and discrimination against local and small-scale buyers.
The investigations also established that some kaunjika wholesalers sell goods outside normal business hours, for instance, at night in prior arrangements with big buyers and foreign traders.
This conduct results in exclusion of local and small-scale kaunjika traders from accessing the products.
Some business operators are not issuing receipts to customers and that some receipts issued quote prices that are lower than the actual price paid by the customer.
When customers react to this, the wholesalers blacklist the complainants, and refuse to supply them with products in future. It has also been noted that some traders do not sufficiently label products to appropriately describe the contents and the volumes of the products.
Following these revelations, the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Trade, Christina Zakeyo, on Monday issued a stern warning to the traders, stressing that the government would not hesitate to deal with any trader contravening the laws governing trade.
“The Ministry of Trade is warning all business owners in the country to Cease and Desist from engaging in the above stated business malpractices forthwith. The Ministry reiterates its commitment to ensure all businesses are operating in a fair and conducive environment and will not hesitate to apply the relevant laws and take drastic actions against anyone found engaging in any of the above malpractices,” said Zakeyo in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade has disclosed that that, effective from 23rd August, 2021, the government will start enforcing Business Licensing (Travel Wholesale and Distributors Licence) for distribution of poultry and poultry products and particularly live chickens.
Zakeyo said on 20th January, 2021, the Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe, directed that poultry producing companies should only concentrate on selling live poultry from their production facilities and limited designated depots by wholesale and leave all distribution and retailing to Malawian Traders and Farmers.
“The restriction seeks to safeguard an inclusive growth of the entire poultry value chain by addressing anticompetitive and unfair trade practices displayed by most of the Large Poultry Producers who have been engaged in the distribution and selling of live poultry in trading centres and other undesignated areas,” said Zakeyo in a separate statement.
She said in this regard and in line with the Business Licensing Regulations 2014, the Ministry of Trade started issuing Distributor’s Licences to poultry distributors and Travelling Wholesaler’s Licences to the large poultry producers to allow them to deliver their products to the designated market places and appointed distributors in designated points throughout the country.
The PS said in order to apply for the Distributor’s Licence, applicants should submit to the Ministry of Trade all necessary documents such as the National Identity Card and Business Registration Certificate.
“The Ministry, therefore, encourages Malawians engaged in distribution and retailing of live poultry or those intending to venture into this business to visit the Ministry of Trade Offices in Lilongwe to obtain the requisite licences. Furthermore, the Ministry would like to inform the public that Malawi Police Officers will be empowered and deployed to monitor the operations of the players on the ground especially the movements of the poultry mobile vans just to ensure that those found on the road and trading centres have the requisite permits,” reads the statement.
Zakeyo warned that those who will not comply with this directive, will face the full might of the law including having their vans impounded.
“The Ministry is confident that these resolutions will bring sanity to the sector and promote inclusive growth of the entire poultry sector,” she emphasized.
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