Govt goes after errant traders selling underweight, expired goods

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By Alois Vinga

INDUSTRY and Commerce Ministry has vowed to go after errant traders flooding the markets with underweight and sub-standard products.

Owing to the rapid informalisation of the economy, various traders have found it easy to flood the markets with cheap imports which are often expired and falling far short of expected health standards.

On the back of the market’s confusion, local manufacturers have also taken advantage of lux regulations to participate vigorously in the production of underweight products not matching the price thresholds which the consuming public pays up.

But in a statement Thursday, the Industry Ministry vowed to clamp on such illicit practices and whip any manufacturer or trader caught offside accordingly.

The Department said routine inspections and robust market surveillance systems have noted several growing unethical practices in retail and wholesale shops throughout the country which include selling of underweight products, expired goods, improperly packaged and unlabelled goods, and in extreme cases unlicensed goods which pose a hazard to human beings as they have not been cleared nor tested by the health authorities.

“In the month of May 2024 alone, the Trade Measures has inspected 5 104 products for weights and measurements and issued 11030 penalties on noncompliant products. Equally, the Consumer Protection Commission has to date undertaken a total of 1903 compliance checks and 691 businesses were issued with compliance notices.

“A total of 1309 businesses were prosecuted for various offences such as selling expired products. In addition, 688 businesses were also issued with compliance notices for non-display of product prices in local currency and most were referred to the Financial Intelligence Unit,” said the department.

Apart from arrests and penalties, the Ministry is also undertaking educational awareness campaigns, consumer’ empowerment and business organizations engagements.