Metro Rate Cards

Consumer unit calls on govt on surging food prices

July 28, 2020 2 min read

MASERU - Local retail outlets mainly run by Chinese and other Asian nationals, should be brought under control by the Ministry of Trade against the continuous surge in food prices, the local Consumer Protection Association (CPA) has warned.

Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in Lesotho, food prices have been on the rise, resulting in a serious panic on the side of consumers. Notably, maize meal and bread flour prices have almost doubled in recent months and prices keep surging. This is despite the fact that government has been consistently calling for food and commodity prices to stay normal.

The CPA has pointed a finger at the Ministry of Trade to take action against quite a small group of Chinese supermarkets that has been taking advantage of the prevailing situation.

“Under normal circumstances it is not a good thing to regulate the market because we do not want to be a command economy. But with the current situation, the Ministry of Trade should really take action to protect consumers,” CPA executive director, Nkareng Letsie said in an interview with Metro on Wednesday.

This, he said is because it will be difficult for government to even think of food subsidy because it is broke. Subsidising certain products, he said, will mean that government may have to look into external borrowing, a decision that can be detrimental in the long run.

“Economic conditions have deteriorated, not only in Lesotho but across the world. That means it would be difficult for government to meet consumers halfway because even the Ministry of Finance has since explained that there is no money.

“The best way forward is that government should deal accordingly with these supermarkets because they are taking advantage. It is just a small group that can be easily dealt with,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade had previously told this paper that it is difficult to control commodity prices as almost all of the products are imported prices.

 


Enjoy our daily newsletter from today

Access exclusive features and newsletters, along with previews of new media releases.


Metro News Digital

Get Your Free Online Newspaper

The ministry revealed, however, that the matter is being discussed at a regional level to try and control the situation as it is not only happening in Lesotho. Price controls would mean a direct economic intervention by government to manage the availability of certain goods though on the other hand the economy should keep going even under these tough conditions.

Share this story

[[message]]

Loading Question


Related Stories