In an e-mail response on Wednesday, Illovo’s public relations manager Ireen Phalula said since Illovoâ€™s costs are exposed to foreign currency fluctuation, the increase was inevitable, but has been kept at the minimum.
â€œThe current price increase only addresses the 50 percent devaluation at this stage. The adjustment has been kept at a minimum through expected gains on exports sales which have to some extent sheltered the business from the impact of the devaluation.
â€œFor this reason the price has been increased by only 23 percent despite the fact that more than 75 percent of Illovoâ€™s costs are exposed to foreign currency fluctuation,â€ said Phalula.
On measures put in place to prevent traders overcharging Malawians, Phalula said the company standardises the cost of sugar across the country by factoring in transport costs to all its main distribution centres.
She added that with normal supplies of sugar on the market, there is no reason for traders to overcharge their customers.
Phalula assured the public that despite the price increase, the cost of sugar in Malawi will be the lowest in the region and that unofficial cross-border sales will be monitored to prevent shortages in the domestic market similar to what was experienced recently.
Spot checks in some shops in Lilongwe showed that sugar has gone up from K220 to K250 per kilogramme.