The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission -CCPC- has now resorted to raiding millers as mealie meal prices continue going up amid a failing economy.
CCPC opened an investigation into ‘suspected’ fixing of mealie meal prices by the Millers Association and its Members.
And a team of investigators on Thursday raided four major milling companies in Lusaka for suspected engagement or facilitation in the fixing of mealie meal and flour prices.
CCPC Acting Executive Director Brian Lingela disclosed this in a statement to the PF controlled ZNBC News.
Lingela said the investigators simultaneously arrived at the premises of the Millers’ Association of Zambia, National Milling Corporation, Superior Milling Company Limited and Simba Milling Company Limited in Lusaka.
He said the investigators were in search of documented evidence showing that the Association and its members were co-ordinating in setting mealie meal and flour prices.
Lingela said this conduct is likely to result in the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition in the supply and pricing of the two commodities.
He has observed that in the period between 2010 to 2015, the Commission suspects that the Association and its members have been agreeing to simultaneously increase the price of mealie meal and flour.
On 4th October 2015, MAZ issued a press statement informing the general public that it had together with its members resolved to increase the price of mealie meal by between K10 and K15 per 25kg bag, thereby triggering a price increase of the country’s staple food.
Lingela said this is contrary to the Competition and Consumer Protection Act No. 24 of 2010.
Prices for all commodities have shot up while annual inflation has hit double digit for the first time in six years.