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Consult widely on rising prices, Govt urged

By OLIVER SAMBOKO

GOVERNMENT should consult widely before coming up with measures aimed at addressing high prices of essential commodities to avoid disruption in the production chain, Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) general secretary Zuba Sakala has said.

Mr Sakala said any unilateral decision on the matter would have a negative effect on the availability of goods in the market and would also have potential to cripple the manufacturing sector in the country.

He said Zambia was a liberalised economy and therefore price control was not a good option.

He was however quick to mention that Government has a duty to intervene in any situation to protect citizens from being exploited by cartels in the retail and manufacturing sectors.

“In this case we are talking about suspicious price hikes and curtails formed to manipulate or exploit consumers. However, our view is that It’s not price control per se but putting rules that will make prices be justifiable unlike the current situation,” Mr Sakala said.

He said ZACA was aware that the cost of production and other factors were behind the current uncertainty in the pricing of essential commodities.

He urged the players in the supply chain to be transparent and avoid forming cartels meant to exploit or manipulate prices.

“There is also need for Government to come up with measures to stop the monopolistic type of business which has been exhibited by some companies for a long time,” Mr Sakala said.

He called on Government to enhance the capacity of the Competition Consumer Protective Commission.

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