THE Namibian Competition Commission says there is evidence that retailers overpriced Covid-19 essentials such masks, hand sanitisers, and immune boosting products such as oranges, naartjies and raw ginger.
The commission said the prices of these products increased by betwee 14% and 1000%, despite not being affected by supply chain challenges that could have resulted in shortages.
Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) corporate communications practitioner Dina //Gowases said in a statement this week that consumers have indicated that they are paying a lot more for these essential products.
"The commission has over the past 4-5 weeks received numerous complaints from the public about significant increases in prices of various products in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The commission's further price movement analysis indicates clear evidence of price exploitation, as prices increased from 14% to over 1000% in respect of certain products," //Gowases said.
She added that close to 40% of the complaints relate to price increases for food and basic consumer items such as fruits and vegetables, rice, maize meal, baby formula, dairy products, and so forth.
"While 25% of the complaints relate to transport, construction, accommodation, furniture, household appliances and motor vehicle parts, 13% of the complaints are in respect of health and hygiene products such as immune boosters, hand sanitisers and masks. 24% of the complaints relate to products or services, which were not specified by the complainants," she said.
Of all the complaints received, 81% related to the essential goods with the remaining 19% relating to non-essential products, and the commission emphasised that complaints regarding essential products will get priority over the rest of the complaints.
"The commission will in due course proceed with formal investigations against those implicated with due regard to the procedure set out in the Competition Act and the envisaged price directives.
"The commission cautions that receipt of complaints does not imply that the undertakings involved are guilty of price exploitation or excessive pricing under section 26 of the Competition Act. Further, at this stage no formal investigations have been initiated against any of the named retailers," //Gowases added.
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