LILONGWE-(Maravi)- The Malawi government through, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism on Friday warned that it will take punitive action against vendors taking advantage of cement shortage on the local market to charge consumers more than recommended price.

The warning comes amid the cement scarcity the country is experiencing on the market, which has made some unscrupulous traders to raise the commodity’s retail price from between MK6,000 and MK6,500 to MK10,000 per a 50kg bag.

In a statement signed by Principal Secretary (PS) for trade, Dr. Joseph Mkandawire and made available to The Maravi Post, states that the Ministry regrets that following the current scarcity of cement, vendors and sellers are taking advantage of the prevailing situation.

In the statement, Dr. Mkandawire said the Ministry is engaged in talks with the cement industry on the matter and issued import permits for cement in order to fill the existing gap of cement supply.

It added that government is also casting the net wider on sources of supply to make sure that traditional cement sources are not overstretched.

The statement also discloses that Government will take punitive measures in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Laws of Malawi, against anyone pegging prices higher than the recommended ones.

“In addition, the Government has done its research on the prices of cement and concluded that the average retail market price of a 50kg bag is between MK6,000.00 and MK6,500.00.

“However, some unscrupulous business persons have taken advantage of the situation by charging up to MK10,000.00 per 50kg bag of cement. Government wishes to inform the general public that it will continue monitoring the situation and ensure that the commodity is available on the market,” assures Mkandawire in the statement.

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