The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called on Minister of Trade and Industry Sosten Gwengwe to act on sugar pricing so that that the price of sugar in Malawi should go down.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa told journalists on Monday that
Gwengwe needs no reminding about cartels and monopolies that disadvantage Malawians and, again, especially the poor majority who are failing to even afford a basic necessity such as locally-manufactured sugar.
He added that is important to highlight that cane growers in Chikwawa, Salima and Nkhotakota, who sacrificed their land for the sugar industry are languishing in poverty while the sugar produced on their land is selling three times cheaper outside the country than here at home where it is produced.
“We are asking Gwengwe to do a field visit to Sugarcane Growers farms to see for himself how the farmers are lamenting about issue and the money they get after selling the sugarcanes.We want to remind Gwengwe that his predecessor Simplex Chithyola-Banda gave Malawians false hopes that they would wake up one morning greeted by reduced sugar prices on the shelves.
“They recall him giving an ultimatum to the sugar manufacturers to reduce the price. They recall him presiding over a series of consultative meetings of stakeholders in the sugar value chain.
“It gave them hope, and they are still hoping for that moment. So, Hon Gwengwe has his work cut out in as far as the call for sugar prices to fall is concerned.
“In the interest of transparency and accountability, CDEDI wishes to draw Hon Gwengwe’s attention to the meeting President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera had with the Illovo Sugar Africa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Gavin Dalglesish in South Africa in August 2023, which he attended,” said Namiwa.
He said that given Gwengwe’s involvement at the meeting, and his re-assignment to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, it will only be fair for Hon Gwengwe to appreciate why Malawians would include his handling of the goings-on in the sugar industry in their assessment of his first 100 days in office