Addis Ababa’s Science and Technology Agency has announced that it is currently in the process of developing a business and market information software to combat unfair price practices engaged in by merchants. The software is known as the Business and Market Analysis Information System.
The Business and Market Analysis Information System is meant to address the lack of awareness among the city’s consumer base that allows for traders to use unfair and dishonest means to turn a profit. The administration had previously enacted several measures, but most had proven ineffective.
Recently, the Ethiopian Trade Competition and Consumers Protection Authority had also noted this same problem. The authority had even gone as far as issuing a warning to traders who, among other practices, engaged in unclear ‘sale’ or ‘discount’ announcements.
The authority, after carrying out multiple investigations had alleged that many traders in the city posted ‘sale’ or ‘discount’ announcements where there was no specification as to what was on sale and how much had been reduced. According to the authority, its investigations had revealed that these announcements were merely ploys to encourage consumers to shop thinking they were being given discounted prices.
Accordingly, the software being developed by the Addis Ababa city administration is expected to mitigate, and hopefully mitigate, such practices by creating highly aware consumers. Data compiled through the software is going to be available online and even be displayed on advertising screens throughout the city.
Data from various sources also suggests that the rise in inflation over the past year is partly a result of traders taking advantage of the ignorance of consumers.
The development of the software is going to cost an estimated ETB 25 million and is expected to be ready in 8 months. Once implementation begins it will be used to ensure that prices for the same goods do not vary across the city, identify areas that need work to maintain prices and reduce inflation, as well as gauge funding requirements for different market sectors.