Centre fears for rising sugar prices

 Centre fears for rising sugar prices

The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) says the recent 15 percent sugar price hike will have an impact on living expenses, especially for individuals who depend significantly on sugar as a basic good.

In a written response on Wednesday, CfSC economic governance programmes officer Agnes Nyirongo said while rising costs will directly affect consumers’ budgets when they buy sugar for domestic usage, the higher price may result in greater production expenses for small enterprises, particularly those in the food and beverage sector.

She said: “Sugar is frequently found in a variety of food products, including drinks, baked goods, and processed meals. Any increase in the price of sugar may have a disproportionate impact on low-income households, who often spend a larger percentage of their income on food and other essentials, hence aggravating income inequality.

Customers queue to buy sugar

“Therefore, an increase in the price of sugar may result in increased production costs for these commodities. If manufacturers pass these higher prices on to consumers, it could add to the overall inflationary pressure in the economy and cause general inflationary pressure.”

The centre has since urged government to reduce import taxes on sugar and put in place pricing controls to stop price gouging and guarantee that prices stay reasonable and accessible for customers.

A for tnight ago, sugar manufacturers Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc and Salima Sugar Company increased the product prices due to soaring production costs.

Following the increment, one kilogramme of Illovo brown sugar is selling at K2 300, up from K2 000, a development which comes barely five months after the company effected a 33

 percent hike in sugar prices following the November 2023 devaluation of the kwacha.

Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc managing director Lekani Katandula said the company expects sugar to be readily available throughout the country following resumption of production in Nchalo and Dwangwa.

“We, unfortunately, can’t provide such information as that would breach Malawi Stock Exchange [MSE] regulations in respect of market sensitive information.”

Salima Sugar Company board chairperson Wester Kosamu also confirmed that rising production costs have pushed their sugar prices from K1 900 to K2 200 per kg.

 The price hikes come amid sugar scarcity on the market, which saw some traders selling

 the commodity at as high as K4 000 per kg.

In an interview, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito said government’s protection of monopolies “is negatively hurting consumers and must be put under serious market scrutiny.”

He said: “Government should immediately identify alternatives and allow competition of the Sugar market for the benefit of consumers.”

Meanwhile, Competition and Fair Trading Commission spokes person Innocent Helema said the commission will engage the sugar manufacturers on the reasons behind the recent increase

The post  Centre fears for rising sugar prices first appeared on Nation Online.

The post  Centre fears for rising sugar prices appeared first on Nation Online.