Prices of basic commodities rising sharply

Prices of basic commodities have risen in 2012 as compared to 2011. In a snap and random survey carried by ZNCC Harare research in some of the country’s top supermarkets, the year 2012 has seen a stead rise in the prices of goods.

Basic goods
Basic goods

The price of 10kg palenta mealie meal has risen from $6,65 to $6,95 in Ok and Food World supermarkets, while a 2kg white sugar has risen from $2 to $2,10 and $2,15 in Ok and Food World respectively. The price of D’lite cooking oil has risen to $3,85 and 3,99 from $3,20 for a 2litre bottle whilst green bar washing soap has risen from $1 to $1,50 and $1,60 2 kgs salt has risen to $1 from $0,90 and 2litres Mazowe Orange has risen to $3,50 from $2,93.

Consumers have been greatly affected by the rise in prices of basic commodities pointing that goods are now expensive yet their salaries have not increased. “Basic commodities are now very expensive as prices of goods have risen as compared to last year,”said one consumer identified as only Mrs Chibise.

“Goods have risen drastically yet we have not received salary increaments,”said one Mrs Moyo.

The rise in basic commodities can be attributed to surtax on some goods that was introduced by the government with effect from January 1.

Meanwhile The cost of living as depicted by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s Low-Income Urban Earner Monthly Basket for a Family of Six has shown a marginal increase from USD499.95 in December 2010 to USD509.17 in January 2011 reflecting a2 % increase.

Food Basket has increased from USD144.19 in December 2010 to USD151.80 in January 2011 reflecting a 5% increase. The food and detergents basket increased from USD155.95 in December 2010 to USD165.17 in January 2011 reflecting a 6% increase.

Generally, all products in the food basket have remained the same compared to the previous month. For some time now, the Rand has been very strong against the US dollar and fuel has gone up by 25 – 37c, but CCZ is concerned that the increase in the food basket may be attributed to the traditional behaviour of supermarkets to increasing prices towards the beginning of a new year with the anticipation that workers will receive salary increments, a behavior which CCZ abhors. Also this is in consideration that supermarkets have not responded positively to giving consumers change. The problem of change needs to be addressed urgently so as not to inconvenience consumers who need every cent they can have for transport and other needs.

Locally manufactured products have increased on the market, however they are still not at competitive prices and levels as compared to imported products. In-house brands are a welcome inclusion on the shelves being offered at lower prices.

The cost of the CCZ Basket for transport, rent, water and electricity, health, education, clothing and footwear has remained the same at USD344.00. There is still a challenge in the area of water supply where a number of households are still running dry. CCZ wants to see all households receiving actual bills or at least bills generated from meters read every quarter. Consumers are still concerned about high utility bills which are being received in most areas, moreso as Harare City Council has announced its intention to increase water charges by 40% in its 2011 Budget. Relevant utility providers and Ministries are urged to deal with these challenges timeously. Sanity needs to prevail where the cost of services have to be in keeping with the salaries and wages prevailing in the environment.

Consumers are urged to always seek a fairdeal on the marketplace by ensuring that their rights are observed. Also, consumers should report any anomalies on the marketplace. They should always be proactive and assert their rights at all times. It is their right to choose products and services at competitive prices with an assurance of quality and all stakeholders need to honour the rights of consumers.

The story and snap survey was conducted by By Patson Gumbo and Daniel Muzana. The two are students on attachment from the Christian College of Southern Africa. Department of Journalism and mass communication.

Post published in: News

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