Supermarkets yet to reduce the price of UNGA

Supermarkets in the country have defied the directive to sell two kilograms of maize flour at Sh.75 as directed by the government last week, the Chairman of United Grain Millers Association (UGMA), Peter Kuguru has said .

Kuguru noted that the retailers are instead selling the commodity at previous prices of between Sh.82 and sh.92 per 2-kilogramme packet.

This shows that Consumers will have to wait longer before they start enjoying reduced prices of maize flour announced.

Speaking on phone on Wednesday, Kuguru who represents 70 percent of small scale millers accused large scale millers saying they are out to sabotage the Governments effort and continue exploiting consumers.

The Government subsidized maize flour that is currently in the supermarkets last year to make the staple food affordable to Kenyans.

These people control only about 35 percent of the market. For us we control more than 70 percent of the market that include far flung areas. We are already selling the product to our traders at reduced wholesale price of less than Sh800 for a bale, said Kuguru.

The Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) CEO, Wambui Mbarire explained that millers are yet to issue recommended retail price so that consumers can start enjoying the new prices.

We have not contravened the new rule as millers are yet to communicate to us about the new prices. This has not happened, said Mbarire

Mbarire noted that as retailers, they learnt of the development through the media and that there were no consultations with relevant stakeholders including other millers that were not represented but said they will wait and be guided.

The Equally Cereal Millers Association (CMA) Chief Executive Officer, Paloma Fernandes told KNA on phone that the Government when announcing the new directive did not consult the association. For now I can only say we were not consulted, said Fernandes.

Last week, Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri met UGMA and gave a directive to traders on the pricing.

Kiunjuri claimed that millers and traders have disregarded the market forces of demand /supply and decided to continue charging Kenyans exorbitant prices.

A spot check by KNA in most of the retail outlets within Nairobi central business district revealed that local supermarkets were yet to reduce the price of unga to Sh.75 as directed by the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary.

A 90kg bag of white maize is currently selling at an average of Sh.1, 600 while millers are selling a bale of unga at more than Sh.800 translating to a wholesale price of slightly above Sh.70 per two-kilo packet of maize flour.

The CS noted that the government will not allow traders to exploit consumers and that necessary action will be taken as much as it is a free market.

Source: Kenya News Agency