Katsonga Phiri makes desperate call for reduction in prices of cooking oil

The Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri has made a desperate call to the producers and suppliers of edible cooking oil to reciprocate the removal of 16.5 percent value added tax (VAT) on the product with reduction in prices.

The call follows delays by producers and suppliers of the much-sought-after commodity to reduce prices despite the government gazetting the removal of VAT, which they [the producers] have been using as an excuse to raise their prices to the sky high.

Trade and Industry Minister Mark Katsonga

In a public notice issued on Friday evening, Katsonga Phiri says his ministry and in collaboration with the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has observed with concern that since the removal of VAT by the government as duly gazetted, the suppliers of edible cooking oil across the country have not followed suit to reduce their prices by the VAT percentage

The minister says these developments come as a surprise as the same suppliers acted with speed to increase their prices when the government introduced VAT on the same products in November 2020.

“Further, the ministry observed with much concern that since the seating of Parliament in February 2022 during which it was announced that the government was removing the VAT on edible cooking oil, the same suppliers reacted by increasing the prices by a margin of about 50 percent within 2 months. Following the removal of VAT on edible cooking oil, government expects suppliers of edible cooking oil to immediately cease and desist from charging VAT on the said cooking oil,” reads part of the statement.

Katsonga Phiri says the Ministry of Trade and Industry together with CFTC have dispatched teams to all cooking oil outlets in the country to conduct inspections, and take action against all traders that are still charging VAT on cooking oil.

He assures consumers that the ministry and CFTC will not tolerate any trader taking advantage of them and will not hesitate to issue relevant penalties where traders are found taking advantage of consumers and violating their rights as provided for under the law.

“If any member of the public suspects any trader of the above stated conduct they should report the same to: the Ministry’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Mayeso Msokera, on +265 999 150 618 or the Public Relations officer for Competition and Fair Trading Commission Mr. Innocent Helema on 0880725075,” thus concludes Katsonga Phiri his notice.

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