The traders issued a statement through the Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK), claiming that as of July 20 at the close of business, before the price of unga was lowered, they still had more than 750 tonnes of unsold stock.
“While the new price tags are affixed, we have commenced engagements with the respective maize meal suppliers to recover more than Sh175 million, which is a cumulative estimate of the higher price earlier paid to them to facilitate deliveries,” said Wambui Mbarire, CEO RETRAK.
Retailers frequently pay for quickly moving goods like Unga in advance or on extremely short credit periods of no more than 14 days, according to Mbarire.
Following discussions with millers, the price of a 2-kilogram packet of maize flour was reduced from an average of Sh205 to Sh100 on Wednesday as part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s announcement of fresh stimulus measures to protect Kenyans from the high cost of living.
The Uhuru edict caught many traders off guard, exposing them to losses in the millions of shillings from keeping outdated supplies. These traders included huge retailers to shopkeepers.
“We are optimistic that our engagements with the government will bear fruit, and retailers will recover these amounts as rebates or credit notes to facilitate smooth service delivery to our esteemed customers,” said Mbarire.
On Thursday, Capital FM conducted a spot check and saw disturbance in supermarkets and other retail locations as Kenyans hurried to buy the good after prices were reduced.
Various supermarkets in Nairobi’s capital city set a limit of two or four packets per purchase.
“We should be allowed to buy the number of packets we want. Why are they limiting the purchases?” said Tom Otieno, a shopper at Naivas supermarket on Moi Avenue.
In some outlets countrywide, there was a shortage of the commodity.
“I don’t know what is happening because there is no Unga in the shelves,” said Marion Njeri, who spent one hour waiting for the commodity, “the queues are too long and Unga is getting finished as soon as bales are opened.”
As part of steps to reduce the quantity of packets to be picked up and to control commotion, some supermarkets, such Naivas Moi Avenue, chose to designate portion of their workers to particularly deal with issuing unga packets to customers.
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