President Uhuru Kenyatta has fired a warning to unscrupulous traders taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to enrich themselves, saying that their days are numbered.
The president, while speaking at State House on Wednesday, said that it is criminal for traders to hike prices just to make supernormal profits from an unfortunate situation.
He said that the government has already started tracking and sanctioning such traders.
“To our traders and even supermarket owners, do your business right and do it justly. Nobody has ever had a problem with anyone making profits but it is highly immoral if we take advantage of an unfortunate situation to make supernormal profits,” said the Head of State.
“We will continue to take action on those traders hiking prices with no reasons just to make profits because it is criminal for you to use an unfortunate situation to enrich yourself,” he added.
The president appealed to the traders to act in the interest of the country as Kenya grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Those trading in hand sanitisers, food and what people need, need to act in the interest of our people and that of the country and that way we will be able to survive and see ourselves out of this unfortunate situation,” he said.
On Monday, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) ordered Cleanshelf Supermarkets to contact and refund all customers who bought Tropikal hand sanitiser at inflated prices.
Following complaints, the Authority found that customers had bought 960-pieces of hand sanitiser above the retail price.
CAK had warned retailers last week against increasing prices or hoarding goods amid high demand for foodstuffs and cleaning products.
The Competition watchdog warned the retailers that the said conduct is a contravention of section 21 (1) of the Competition Act together with section 21 (3) (a) of the Act, and will attract a penalty of up to 10 per cent of the respective turnover of the manufacturers and retailers in question, pursuant to section 36 (d) of the Act.
“It has come to the attention of the Authority that following a pronouncement by the Government of a confirmed coronavirus case, some manufacturers and retailers are contemplating collusive increases of prices and/or hoarding with the intention of subsequently increasing prices of various consumer goods,” read the statement by CA.