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Tariffs commission probes schools over monopolised uniform supplies

by Staff reporter
25 Mar 2021 at 06:07hrs | Views
The Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) has launched an investigation into reports of schools compelling parents and guardians to buy uniforms from preferred retailers and suppliers, a clear breach of free-market principles.

The statutory body says the practice is prohibited under Section 2 (Chapter 14:28) of the Competition Act.

"It is alleged that some schools are compelling parents and guardians to exclusively buy uniforms from the school and or preferred suppliers," the Commission said in a statement.

Last year it was forced to act under similar circumstances, issuing a stern warning to schools over the monopolised supply of masks and sanitizers.

"The alleged practice may deprive parents and guardians of their right to choice of suppliers resulting in the procurement of uniforms at monopoly prices charged by the respective school or the preferred supplier.

"The practice may also affect potential suppliers of school uniforms into these closed markets," the statutory body added.

Last month parents of Form 1 students had to seek government intervention, complaining they were forced to buy school supplies at astronomical prices due to the choice-limiting practice.

Some boarding schools were said to be charging between US$400 and US$600 for a complete set of uniforms.

The Commission said it would also investigate whether the "production and distribution of school uniforms" restricted competition "to a material degree."

Source - zimlive

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