President Banda summons Illovo Sugar management

Malawian President Joyce Banda on Thursday summoned senior management of Illovo Sugar Limited over the continued scarcity of sugar that has hit the country since last month.

The President summoned the Illovo bosses at Mudi Residence in Blantyre to be updated on the current situation and what the company was doing to check the continued shortage.

The high powered delegation was led by Illovo Sugar Group Managing Director, Graham Jhon Clarke, who is based at the company’s headquarters in South Africa.

President Banda: Concerned with sugar scarcity

Speaking after holding the discussions, Clarke told reporters full production of the product was underway and assured the nation that supply would normalize in the next week or two.

“We had a really constructive discussion with Her Excellency and the message we gave her was that we are in full production and Malawians should expect normal supply in 10 days or two weeks time,” said Graham.

Responding to what led to the scarcity, Clark said the development came about because a lot of sugar was reportedly being smuggled outside Malawi in order to bring forex into the country.

The managing director also revealed that the said sugar was being exported by some unscrupulous companies using unchartered routes.

“We had speculation that a lot of sugar was being exported illegally by companies using unchartered routes in order to bring forex into the country,” he revealed.

The Illovo boss said his company had a lot of confidence in Malawi as it is one of the best places in the world in as far as sugar production is concerned.

In his remarks, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Newby Kumwembe appealed to traders to ensure that sugar is sold equitably and at the recommended prices.

He warned traders against deliberate abrogation of recommended prices saying “whoever is found selling at higher prices will face the law.”

Recommended prices for white sugar is K220 while brown sugar is supposed to be sold at K225.

The PS also said the opening of two more new sugar production companies in the country- Limphasa Sugar Corporation in Nkhata Bay district and a wholly Malawian owned Mtalimanja Sugar Company- will greatly increase the production of the product.

Sugar is one basic commodity any family strives to have everyday but the scarcity in Malawi left many families scrambling for it at major retail shops as and other traders have been selling at exorbitant price as high as K500 per 1kg packet.

The scarcity of the product which started last month has subjected many Malawians to queuing in major retail shops in order to have access to it.

Consumers across the country have also been braving the scorching heat and in some cases being soaked in rains while travelling long distances in order to get a packet or two of the scarce product as their areas had none.

Illovo is a leading sugar producer in Africa with extensive agricultural and manufacturing operations in six African countries which include Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.

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