2024-06-13

CDEDI demands the truth on sugar crisis in Malawi

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The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has demanded the truth on sugar crisis urging Minister of Trade and Industry Sosten Gwengwe and Illovo Sugar Company to come out in the open and explain to Malawians what is causing the current scarcity of sugar in the country.

The CDEDI has caution Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda that if nothing is done to this sugar crisis urgently, it will undermine efforts to recover the economy following the 44 percent devaluation of the Kwacha in December, 2023.

The organization says according to its investigations, the sugar crisis will torment Malawians until April this year when Illovo Sugar Company’s mill is expected to start running again expressing its deep concern that there’s rationing of the commodity and prices have gone up to between k2,750-k3,000 per one Kilogram packet.

In a statement dated 29th January, 2024 signed by its Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, the CDEDI says the scarcity of sugar in the country has been aggravated by Ministry of Trade and Industry’s failure to issue import licenses on time to interested businesspersons since sugar is a protected commodity.

The CDEDI says the scarcity of sugar is unbelievably and laughably being blamed on the impact of Tropical Cyclone Freddy which hit the country in March, 2023, and smuggling describing the reasons as lame and baseless.

The organization has demanded government to tell Malawians when Illovo Sugar Company notified it about the impending sugar crisis and its justification and explain to Malawians the Ministry of Trade’s plan to contain the situation in the face of the prevailing forex.

“Government must provide documentary evidence of tonnage Sugar Illovo exported to neighboring Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania between May and December, 2023,” reads part of the statement.

The CDEDI has also asked Government to make public the quota allocated to the top-five sugar distributors that include Kalaria, Priceworth, and Simama General Dealers in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

Meanwhile, a Malawi Congress Party (MCP) diehard of Mvera in Dowa district Mr. Rodgers Kamphangala, has asked President Chakwera to address Malawians through MBC TV and Radio on the sugar crisis in Malawi expressing fears that his continued silence on the issue, is giving a conclusion that he don’t have the welfare of the citizens at heart.

Kamphangala has expressed his sadness that President Chakwera is busy addressing Development Rallies and at no time he and his Ministers commented on the scarcity of sugar in Malawi describing this as a worrisome development as the country is heading to the General Elections in October, 2024.

“Malawians are already in pain and suffering, scarcity of sugar and prices have increased the citizens suffering to go beyond the reach of the poor making many to feel that they don’t have a government in Malawi,” he said.

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