Price hikes spook Govt

HARARE - With almost three weeks to go before the so-called "income tax-relief" of Z$20 million (Z$20 000) announced by Finance minister Herbert Murerwa comes into force, the cost of Zimbabwe's monthly consumer basket has surged again by a massive 23.5 percent, Zimbabwe's consumer w

atchdog said on Friday.
Authorities angrily threatened to “deal ruthlessly” with retailers who have hiked the price of commodities under the pretext of removing three zeros.
An average family of six now needs $75 million ($75 000) to cater for its most basic needs, up from $68 million ($68 000) last month, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ).
The increase is being blamed on washing powder, flour, roller meal, clothing, footwear, meat, bread, transport, electricity, rice and vegetable cost hikes.
Inflation is currently running at 1 184 percent- the highest in the world – and price hikes occur almost on a daily basis.
The latest unofficial hike in the price of commodities was caused by the revaluing of consumer goods following the currency reforms that knocked off three zeros from the country’s currency last week. Instead of just cancelling three zeros from their price tags, most retailers reviewed the price of their goods upwards, causing consternation in government. The price hikes were accepted with apparent resignation in Harare, where security forces and a team led by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono put up a farcical show, making a door-to-door raid on a handful of shops looking for “unscrupulous” businesses that were holding on to cash and had hiked prices.
Similar price rises in 1998 triggered riots in which at least seven people died after President Robert Mugabe deployed troops backed by tanks and helicopters to townships.
Gono told one of his ongoing road shows on the currency reforms that anyone found selling goods above the stipulated prices would have their trading licence revoked. 
CCZ urged consumers to make use of its toll-free numbers to report any “poor and unfair business practices.”
“We urge consumers to maintain vigilance and ensure that prices are not increased in the pretext of removal of zeros,” CCZ said in a press statement.
“Consumers should report any retailers and manufacturers who increase prices unjustifiably for investigation,” added the consumer watchdog.
CCZ said the monthly expenditure basket had a 55 percent surge in the water and electricity component reflecting an increase in the ZESA tariff in July.
Transport costs also went up by 50 percent on Monday with a trip to Chitungwiza now going for $300 000 up from $200 000 and the fare for Sunningdale shooting to $150 000 up from $100 000.
“Transport operators have continued to increase the fares per trip thereby impacting on consumer budgets with June transport costs increasing by 46,7 percent whilst July fares were increasing by an average of 36,4 percent,” the CCZ said.
Zimbabweans have to live with the rapid devaluation of their money. Soldiers, nurses, teachers and other civil servants recently had their salaries more than tripled but even they now take home less than $30million ($30 000) and are still living way below the poverty line

Post published in: Economy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *