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Thursday, June 13, 2024

7-DAY ULTIMATUM: CDEDI demands action on Sugar scarcity

The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has given Attorney General Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda a 7-day ultimatum to lift the injunction on Illovo Sugar, citing the worsening sugar scarcity and skyrocketing prices.

The injunction, granted on August 23, 2023, by Judge Charlotte Malonda of the High Court, restrains the Ministry of Trade and Industry from effecting a 25% sugar price cut and also restrains the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from commencing criminal proceedings against Illovo Sugar for allegedly violating the Competition and Fair Trading Act.

“We appeal to the AG to lift the injunction with the urgency it deserves…all eyes are on him. Malawians are eager to see whether he will act in their interest,” said CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa.

Namiwa emphasized that the AG has a constitutional duty to protect Malawians from monopolies and cartels, and that “he does not have the luxury of sitting on the fence.”

CDEDI also criticized Minister of Trade and Industry Sosten Gwengwe for failing to address the sugar crisis, despite promises to ensure affordable commodity prices.

“Minister Gwengwe has failed to deliver on his promises, and Malawians are suffering as a result,” Namiwa said.

If the ultimatum is not met, CDEDI threatens to petition the Chief Justice to intervene and address the sugar crisis, which has seen prices soar to K5,000 per kilogram on the parallel market.

As Namiwa noted, “Sugar is now selling as an illicit drug…respectable citizens are pictured literally scrambling for a packet.”

CDEDI is urging the AG to take action and ensure that Malawians have access to affordable sugar, a commodity produced in the country.

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