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MINISTER CALLS FOR MEETING ON SUGAR VALUE CHAIN CONTROVERSY

By Our Reporter

It’s getting hotter each passing day! Trade and Industry Minister, Simplex Chithyola Banda has tomorrow, Tuesday called for a consultative meeting with various stakeholders on the Sugar Value Chain amid unresolved sugar production and pricing public inquiry.

Simplex Chithyola Banda min of trade

Secretary for Trade and Industry, Christina Zakeyu says the meeting will be held at the ministry’s conference room, floor number 3 at 2pm.

“The primary objective of the meeting will be to conduct final consultations on the Sugar Value Chain, building upon the previous discussions,” she says in a communication dated 17th July 2023.

The stakeholders include Chibuku Products Limited, National Planning Commission, Castel Malawi Limited, Universal Industries Limited, Mugisha Investments, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives-CDEDI, Cocacola Limited, CFTC, Illovo Sugar Limited, Salima Sugar Company, Consumers Association of Malawi, Lakeshore Cane Growers Association and Sugarcane Growers Association of Malawi among others.

For the past days, Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism has been conducting a public inquiry on the sugar pricing controversy after CDEDI alleged that Malawians are paying more than necessary for the commodity.

Chithyola Banda has threatened to issue more import licenses to industry players if Illovo failed to reduce the price of sugar in a previously given seven day ultimatum.

Illovo didn’t reduce the price but proposed a 6 percent price reduction on industrial sugar.

Recently, Illovo Sugar Company Managing Director, Lekani Katandula withdrew his earlier statement stopping government to issue more licenses for the importation of sugar in the country.

Previously, Katandula had warned government against such move; arguing it would be like exporting jobs that could benefit the locals.

Some industry players including CDEDI believe importing sugar into the country has potential to reduce the price of the commodity.

However, Illovo denies assertions that its sugar fetches the highest price as compared to those in the neighbouring countries such as Tanzania and Zambia.

There are growing allegations that some cartels in the sugar industry are reaping off poor Malawians in the absence of the Sugar Industry Bill of 2021 and the consultative meeting and the public inquiry are expected to sanitize the industry.

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