Over 20 businesses fined over price hikes

Photo by RBA.

It has been established that some businesses have taken advantage of the current coronavirus pandemic to inflate prices of products, including for foodstuff and other essential goods, despite government’s warning against malpractice.

As a result, the Government said Thursday that it had slapped up to 24 businesses in the City of Kigali with fines.

This came after findings from a field inspection as provided for under the competition and consumer protection laws, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

While some of the business operators in question were fined others were ordered to “temporarily suspend their business activities.”

Those fined paid anywhere between Rwf100,000 and Rwf200,000 in accordance with the law regulating agriculture commodity prices,” officials said.

Joseph Mukasa, a consumer based in Kigali, told The New Times that he bought portable hand-washing equipment, locally known as Kandagira Ukarabe, at Rwf45,000, and a roll of toilet paper at Rwf2,000.

“Yet the (hand-washing) equipment was previously retailing at Rwf15, 000 or Rwf20,000 depending on where you bought it; previously, a toilet roll was also cheaper going for Rwf1,500,” he said.

In some markets, traders were found to have hiked prices of foodstuff like rice, white flour, vegetables, fruits, and toilet papers.

For instance, a 50-kilogramme sack of ‘Tanzanian rice’, which normally costs Rwf24, 500-Rwf25,500 (for wholesale) was going for Rwf31,000.

The Government recently warned retailers and traders across the country to refrain from hoarding, hiking prices or selling sub-standard goods.

“Inspections will continue…and we urge the business community to abide by the law and stop unlawful hiking of prices,” the Trade ministry said on Twitter.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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