Zambia Consumers Association (ZACA) has warned traders against hoarding commodities in anticipation of price hikes in view of the Kwacha’s poor performance against other international currencies.
ZACA information and publicity secretary Juba Sakala said some traders had a tendency of creating artificial shortages in anticipation of price increments owing to the souring Kwacha.
He said it was unfortunate that traders would hold the consumers at ransom and remove products from the shelf in anticipation of high profits from high prices.
“Some traders have created cartels and through them they secretly agree to hoard products to create an artificial shortage which pushes up the prices of goods on the local market.
“We just hope traders are not removing commodities from the market in order to create a high demand and increase product pricing,” Mr Sakala said.
He was commenting on the looming shortage of cooking oil from some wholesale suppliers such as Zambeef, Salad House and Mount Meru.
Reports indicate that some local bulk cooking oil manufacturers and suppliers have run out of the commodity owing to the unstable Kwacha strength on the international market.
But Mr Sakala said bulk cooking oil was a source of cheap supply for most households and the scarcity of the commodity would disadvantage some consumers who depended on the low-priced supply.
Mr Sakala said ZACA was disturbed with information of the sudden shortage of bulk cooking at various retail outlets around Lusaka and advised against action that would disadvantage consumers from enjoying the luxury of essential commodities like cooking oil.
Earlier in the year, Government through the Ministry of Agriculture enforced a partial ban on the importation of edible oil because the country had enough stocks to process and provide sufficient oil to meet the local demand.