Govt issues fresh warning over price hikes

Sunday March 22 2020

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Trade and industry ministry (MINICOM) has moved to regulate prices for foods items. PHOTO | Cyril Ndegeya   

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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Trade and industry ministry (MINICOM) has moved to regulate prices of foods items, sanitation and pharmaceutical commodities after the coronavirus outbreak sent their costs soaring.

The commodities in question include most sought after food items like rice, maize flour, beans, cooking oil, Irish potatoes, green bananas, cassava, and sugar.

Others are items deemed essential in controlling the spread of Covid-19 such as soap, sanitizers, hand washing kits, gloves and protective masks.

“We urge all retail and wholesale traders to avoid increasing prices of goods whether imported or domestically produced. The ministry also urge consumers to provide information on abnormal price increase to enable us to take necessary measures,” Minister Suraya Hakuziyaremye said in a statement.

The ministry had earlier issued a similar warning though limited to food items, and fined a number of traders for unlawfully hiking their prices.

However, as the country enforces a nationwide lockdown effective Sunday March 22, the ministry issued a fresh warning citing the fact that its inspections found out that some traders were exploiting the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Prices of most items rose by between 10 to 25 per cent as households rushed to stock enough of the goods shortly after the country confirmed the first coronavirus infection on March 14.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 infections rose to 17 people as at March 20, prompting government  to impose  a two-week lockdown.

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