Some concerned Malawians have complained that companies, which were contracted to distribute sugar from Illovo Sugar Malawi to markets, hide the commodity in their warehouses leading to scarcity of sugar on the market
The certified distributors allegedly tend to hide some sugar in their warehouses so that they sell the commodity at a higher price.
One businessperson suggested that Illovo Sugar Company should increase the number of distributors so that the commodity must be on the market in large quantity.
“Each distributor is given authority to distribute sugar to more than three districts. That is where the problem of sugar scarcity starts,” the businessperson said.
Renowned Karonga businessperson Lenzo Kiyombo also advised Illovo Sugar to reduce the period of its contract with the distributors.
“Each distributor must be given a one-year contract and not more than that as it is happening. The contracts also need to be given to different people not the same so that all Malawians should take part in the business,” said Kiyombo.
Reacting to the concerns, Minister of Trade, Sosten Gwengwe said his ministry has engaged Illovo Sugar Malawi to iron out issues behind the sugar crisis in the country.
Speaking in a phone interview, Gwengwe said his ministry will handle this issue with an urgent manner.
While saying that contract issues are in the hands of the company, Gwengwe, said his ministry will advise Illovo Sugar Malawi to iron out the complaints lodged by Malawians.
Illovo Sugar Malawi public relations officer, Maureen Kachingwe, said the Ministry of Trade has power to deal with distributors who are fond of hiding sugar.
But on issues of reducing the period of contract, Kachingwe failed to highlight more saying “contracts are given to those who followed the company’s contract demands.”
Meanwhile, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry not to sleep on this issue saying it has affected Malawians.
Addressing Journalists in Lilongwe on Friday morning, CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa warned that his organization will take this case seriously until sugar price is reduced and available in all markets.
Currently, the prices of sugar have gone as high as K2,750 per 1 kilogram packet of sugar in some parts of the country.