Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) says the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is fueling a surge in unfair trading practices.
CFTC executive director James Kaphale, in an e-mailed response to a questionnaire on Thursday, said the commission has in the first quarter issued 60 cease and desist orders to traders for allegedly violating the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
He said: “During our inspections, we have noted serious violations of consumer and competition laws in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, including excessive pricing, misleading practices and hoarding of essential commodities.
“To date, about 500 pharmacies and supermarkets have been inspected nationwide and as a result of the inspections, 60 cease and desist orders have been issued to traders who are suspected of violating the CFTA and CPA.”
Kaphale said the commission will communicate later the punitive measures for traders violating the law.
Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito said the market has been hijacked by unscrupulous traders supplying substandard products at unreasonable prices.
Last month, President Peter Mutharika warned traders against consumer exploitation and directed the CFTC to step up market surveillance and protect consumers from unfair trading practices.