By Alois Vinga
THE Competition and Tariffs Commission (CTC) has threatened to take action against schools ordering learners to buy face masks from them or stipulated suppliers saying such practices violate competition regulations.
In a recent update, the CTC said the directives being issued by schools negatively impacted the consuming public as it is uncompetitive.
“The Commission will not condone such exploitation of the vulnerable society during the Covid-19 pandemic period; will not hesitate to undertake enforcement actions against any school found to contravene the Competition Act, pre – and post – the opening of schools,” CTC said.
In line with the regulations, the CTC also advised all stakeholders – the practice of imposing a supplier of face masks and sanitisers on schools, pupils, parents, guardians, is an anti-competitive practice prohibited in terms of the Competition Act.
“The practice negatively impacts on consumer welfare as it limits guardians and parents’ choice of buying masks and sanitisers from alternative cheaper or quality suppliers.
“Stakeholders are therefore requested to approach the Commission with information on any forced sale of face masks and sanitisers during this Covid-19 pandemic period as parents, guardians and scholars exercise their right to make choices of where to purchase face masks and sanitisers,” the commission said.
A snap survey by NewZimbabwe.com revealed that several private schools in the country are selling face masks and sanitisers at prices way above the normal market rates.
Such practices are being conducted for purposes of fundraising for the schools though parents are crying foul that they are being fleeced of their hard-earned money.