The Competition and Fair Trading Commission has noted with concern that there are some unscrupulous enterprises that are supplying underweight agricultural inputs and edible salt.
This was observed during a recent market inspection by the Commission to verify whether enterprises were voluntarily complying with the provisions of the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and Consumer Protection Act (CPA). The inspection was conducted in the following districts: Lilongwe, Dowa, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Mulanje, Blantyre, Zomba, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Neno, Mwanza, Karonga, Mzuzu, and NkhataBay.
During the inspection, the Commission found that some enterprises were supplying underweight fertilizer, underweight maize and bean seeds and underweight edible salt. The conduct of making a false declaration as to the weight of any products offered to consumers is a serious offence under the Competition and Fair Trading Act, Cap 48:09 of the Laws of Malawi and Consumer Protection Act, Cap 48:10 of the Laws of Malawi.
Precisely, Section 43(1)(d) of the CFTA makes it an offence for any person to engage in conduct that is likely to mislead the public as to the nature, price, availability, characteristics, suitability for a given purpose, quantity or quality of any products or services.
In view of this, the Commission wishes to appeal to all suppliers of agricultural inputs and other commodities to ensure that they are supplying correct ingredients, measures and weights of the products they are offering. They should also ensure that all weighing scales in their shops are well calibrated by relevant institutions.
Any enterprise found guilty of duping consumers through the supply of underweight products or any other form of misrepresentation will be liable to a fine equivalent to the financial gain generated by the offence and to five years imprisonment.
In the same vein, the Commission would like to appeal to the general public to be vigilant against unscrupulous enterprises and ensure that the weights of the products they are buying are correct.
CHARLOTTE WEZI MALONDA (MRS)