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Retail chains blamed for hiking prices of consumer goods

COFEK has threatened to call for consumer boycott of outlets involved.

A consumer shops for Brookside dairy milk products in a supermarket in Kenya's capital Nairobi on July 28, 2014. Photo by SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images

The increase in prices of consumer goods such as maize meal, wheat flour, sugar, cooking oil, tissue paper, milk, and groceries has drawn the attention of Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) who have expressed concern.

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In a press release seen by this writer, Secretary-General Stephen Mutoro has warned retail chains against justifying the rise in prices to several factors affecting the world and Kenya in particular.

"Our attention is drawn to the increasing number of complaints on retail chains taking advantage of the impending general elections, high inflation and the Russian-Ukraine war to arbitrarily increase prices of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), "read the letter in part.

SG Mutoro in accused the chains of varying the prices in "an exorbitant manner," reiterating that the abuse of buyer power between supermarkets and manufacturers has hurt the consumers.

The consumer watchdog further instructed the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to take action as soon as possible in order to restore order amongst retail chains countrywide.

"We call upon the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) to take immediate actions to restore order within the retail chains, countrywide. Equally, we expect Retail Traders Association of Kenya (RETRAK) to rein in their members before we publicly cite them and call for consumer boycott," read the letter.

The Secretary General concluded by demanding that manufacturers display the updated version of their Retail Prices (RRP) on their website in order for customers to make price comparisons.

"Further, we demand that manufacturers communicate their updated recommended Retail Price (RRP) on their websites with immediate effect. This would allow consumers to make necessary price comparisons," stated Mutoro.

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