Majority of merchants inspected are respecting MRP |04 February 2023
● 31 out of 142 caught breaking the order
Thirty-one (31) out of 142 shops inspected since November 2022 for the maximum retail price applicable on 14 commodities imported by the Seychelles Trading Company, were violating the government-imposed measure.
The deputy chief executive of the Fair Trading Commission, Natalie Edmond, shared the statistics yesterday morning during a press conference in the presence of Seychelles Licensing Authority’s deputy chief executive Jessica Larue and the director general for trade, Ricky Barbe.
The inspections were carried out after government imposed a temporary one-year measure in October, under the Control of Supplies and Services Act to regulate the prices of sunflower oil, rice, sugar, milk powder, lentils, salt, margarine, flour, toilet paper, infant formula, and onions, potatoes, apples and oranges, which are currently being subsidised by the Seychelles Trading Company (STC). This was one of several government measures aimed at curbing the high cost of living.
The inspections were done by the Seychelles Licensing Authority (SLA) and the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) on all three main islands ‒ Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.
The 31 merchants not respecting the MRP were fined based on a number of issues, such as the nature of the offence, the gravity, the recurrence of the offences and the type of commodities involved. The maximum fine is set at R10,000 (ten thousand rupees) and once fined, merchants have 14 days to settle the payments.
According to Mrs Edmond so far, the highest fine imposed was R1600.
She added that 24 compounded the offence, meaning they accepted committing it, and agreed to pay the fines imposed instead of taking the legal route.
“To date, SLA and FTC have been able to collect R10,000 under compounding of offences and some fines are yet to be collected. Two merchants have not accepted to compound their offences and in these two cases, legal actions are being taken against them. The others still have time to reply. What we have noticed is that the contraventions were mainly on commodities such as margarine, lentils, powdered milk and onions,” she said.
Mrs Edmond said some shops were not respecting MRP on one commodity while some had up to four commodities.
They were however encouraged that on the three islands, the majority of those inspected were compliant.
SLA and FTC said they remain engaged to ensure the order is respected and will continuously carry out inspections.
They have appealed to merchants to respect the order and for the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to either SLA or FTC.
Text and photo by Patsy Canaya