Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) says it will continue inspecting cooking oil prices in various retail outlets nationwide to ensure that they reflect changes following the removal of16.5 percent value added tax (VAT).
CFTC spokesperson Innocent Helema said in a written response on Tuesday that they have been visiting retailers to check if they have effected a change in prices compared to March 2022 prices.
Random sampling in some of the retail shops in Lilongwe on Tuesday revealed that prices have been reduced by about K1 000, with a two-litre bottle now selling at around K6 000 from about K7 000 and a five-litre bottle costing about K14 000 for some brands and about K15 000 for others.
In a telephone interview, Malawi Oil Producers and Processors Association (Moppa) president Peter Ngoma confirmed the reduction in cooking oil prices.
In the past, local cooking oil manufacturers were producing the oil locally from cotton seed, sunflower, ground nuts and in recent times, soya.
However, local development researcher and analyst Misonzi Gundo noted that this changed when the manufactures realised that it was cheaper to buy crude oil from South American and Asian mass producers and the local companies moved from producing cooking oil to refining.
But with the kwacha falling rapidly against the major currencies, buying crude has become so expensive for the cooking oil producers and their profits are falling.
Gundo said: “This would not be the case if they manufactured locally as it is more sustainable than importing crude for refinement.
“Cooking oil producers may now start looking for other ways to ensure that they cover the rising cost of crude which is getting worse with fall in the value of the kwacha against the dollar.”
Minister of Trade and Industry Mark Katsonga Phiri earlier said government we will do everything possible to protect the consumers
He said: “The cooking oil prices going up unnecessarily is not fair. A lot of people, especially in the rural areas started dropping cooking oil from their shopping list, which is not good as cooking oil is good for everybody.”