Consumers blast profiteering as basic goods prices stabilise

CONSUMERS have expressed outrage over
businesspeople who refuse to reduce or just
stabilise prices of basic commodities despite the drop in fuel prices, and the stabilisation of foreign currency rates on the black market following a range of interventions that include the reduction in fuel prices and the introduction of gold coins.

The measures have pulled out a large group of speculators and those seeking to preserve value as they can now invest in gold coins as opposed to chasing US dollars on the parallel market.

Some businesses have taken steps to cut prices of their products while others have stabilised prices, as a result of the changes seen in recent weeks, at least behaving more honestly than those who were just pursuing higher profits.

But the excuses of fuel prices, which even in the transport sector are only around 25 percent of costs and a lot less in most industries, and the black market for forex, were used by businesses when they sent prices soaring.

Consumers now believe businesses should follow their own logic and start slashing prices. From a wide range of interviews conducted by The Herald, a number of consumers did not hide their displeasure towards businesses that continue to hike prices or maintain them on their higher side.

Most price increases are initiated by manufacturers, rather than retailers, who are often themselves at the mercy of industrialists who either insist on foreign currency or price according to what they believe the black market rate might be in a month’s time.

Mercy Muremba of Hatfield said the reduction of fuel price was a positive move that should be appreciated, adding that the business world, which has been blaming fuel prices for some of their price rises, should also reduce their prices for the benefit of everyone to ensure a better life.

“Reduction in fuel prices is an important
achievement in the country and we hope we are going to maintain this and even in shops we are currently witnessing a stable situation where prices are currently fair although there are some who are failing to maintain stable prices. We are happy with the reduction in prices of some goods,” she said.

Peter Mutiweziva of Mutoko said the reduction of fuel prices and the present stability in prices of basic commodities was welcome.

“At least we now have hope for the better but all traders should match the forex stability and decline in fuel by reducing prices,” he said.

Lawrence Fararira of Bindura said the introduction of gold coins had contributed to the stability in the forex rate and the subsequent price reductions although some traders still refuse to reduce prices.

Pardon Garawaziva of Wedza said transport operators should not overcharge passengers since fuel prices have declined.

“All commuter omnibuses should rationalise their fares. They should not take advantage of fuel prices. We want prices to remain stable in every industry. We thank our Government for its efforts,” he said.

Warren Park resident Mr Edson Mudzuka said it was a positive move if prices of basic commodities remained low.

“We pray that we can maintain the situation. We love our Government but we are appealing for the stringent measures that can be put in place to ensure that prices remain stable so that everyone can have access to basic items,” he said.

Over the past three weeks or so there have been three reductions in fuel prices with petrol falling a total of around 11 percent and diesel falling a little over 7 percent.
(The Herald)