The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has described the just-ended year as a mixed bag, saying there were achievements and challenges largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In statement of the performance of the commission in 2020, CFTC executive director James Kaphale said many businesses faced tough times, which prevented the consumption of certain goods and services, thereby affecting implementation of some of its planned activities.
He said: “We all agree that 2020 was not only unique, but also tough in all measures largely due to Covid-19. Some private sector companies had to downsize while others invested in the supply of essential personal protective equipment [PPE] used in the management of Covid-19.
“On the other hand, some of the opportunistic enterprises took advantage of the Covid-19 disaster to engage in prohibited excessive pricing in the supply of PPEs such as masks, hand sanitisers, Vitamin A and other related medical supplies.”
Tough as it was, Kaphale said CFTC looks back at 2020 as partially successful as it registered some notable milestones.
In an interview, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito observed that traders were indeed taking advantage of the importance of some products which have become vital to the consumers than before.
He said the market was hijacked by unscrupulous traders who were supplying substandard products at unreasonable prices.
In view of the pandemic, a number of companies diversified and started producing PPE which were highly priced in some instances.