Govt Announces Crackdown on These Traders

  • Customers queueing at a supermarket in Kenya
    Customers queueing at a supermarket in Kenya
    File
  • The government has announced a crackdown targeting traders who have hiked prices of basic commodities in a bid to protect consumers from extortion.

    Through the Competition Authority of Kenya, the government says it will launch a countrywide operation that will be seeking to flush out traders who have imposed artificial hikes on commodity prices by feigning shortage.

    At the moment, the authority is investigating traders who may have engaged in price gouging to cash in on the prevailing economic situation in the country.

    Various milk brands on the shelves of a Nairobi supermarket
    Various milk brands on the shelves of a Nairobi supermarket
    Twitter

    The regulator, justifying the crackdown, noted that some traders are taking advantage of the recent global events to hike commodity prices unfairly.

    To shield consumers from uncontrolled price increases, the regulator has laid out a strategy to carry out a survey on producers’ production costs and give recommendations on appropriate commodity prices.

    The findings will help the regulator impose a price cap on all commodities and services in the country.

    Prices of cooking oil, milk, and sugar among other basic commodities have increased over the last few weeks, forcing consumers to dig deep into their pockets to afford them.

    According to a consumer report released early this month, manufacturers recorded a 33 per cent rise in the cost of crude palm oil which is used in the production of cooking oil. This has affected the supply and demand in the country.

    Milk on the hand has been tipped to increase from the current retailing price of Ksh55 to Ksh68. The processors have partly blamed the persisting drought as the cause of price hike.

    "The long drought is the cause of all this. There have been no long rains since December last year. That is what has caused the short supply," stated an expert.

    This trend aligns with the findings from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) which disclosed that inflation rose by 0.83 per cent to 8.69 per cent in February 2022.

    Traders and customers pictured at a market in Kenya.
    Traders and customers pictured at a market in Kenya.
    File