Government puts cap on prices of basic commodities

By Zbc Reporter
Government has moved to cushion consumers from escalating food prices by announcing a cap on essentials such as bread, mealie meal and cooking oil, among other commodities.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi, announced the price control measures saying it is necessary to protect consumers from speculative behaviour that was pushing up the prices of basics.
“In order to address this challenge of escalating prices, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce held a multi-sectoral meeting with various players. The multi-sectoral stakeholders committed to a price moratorium to operate based on the prices which were applicable on the 25th of March. The moratorium will also apply to all value chain players,”said Vice President Kembo Mohadi, who is the chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on COVID-19 Response.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing escalating food prices which is increasingly making it difficult for the consumer to afford basic commodities.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce in partnership with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has continuously been monitoring the food basket cost.
When His Excellency, President E.D.Mnangagwa announced the lockdown, prices skyrocketed generating increasing difficulties for the general public to access food items such as bread, sugar, cooking oil, mealie-meal and flour.
In a survey done by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the value of the consumer basket as at 7 February was ZWL$4, 656 but by 11 April 2020, the same amounted to ZWL$ 6, 660.84.
in order to address this challenge of escalating prices, the Ministry oiI~ndustry and Commerce held a multi-sectoral meeting with various key stakeholders which included Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association, National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe, oil Expressors Association of Zimbabwe, National Foods and Zimbabwe Sugar Sales among others.
There was general agreement amongst the multi-sectoral partners that the price increase, particularly during the lockdown, was speculative and unjustified.
The multi-sectoral stakeholders committed to a price moratorium to operate based on the prices which were applicable on the 25th of March. The moratorium will also apply to all value chain players. This was supported by a Cabinet Decision of the 21st of April 2020 and will take effect immediately.
Some business had engaged in speculative behaviour to exploit consumers during the lockdown period. Retailers have assured availability of commodities.
Availability and affordability of mealie meal is also expected to be maintained said Tafadzwa Musarara Grain Millers Rodrick Musiyiwa- OEAZ representative and Dennis Wallah- Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe welcomed the government’s decision but says there should be a task force to monitor compliance, according to Phillip Bvumbe of the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe adding that over the past four weeks, prices of basic commodities had skyrocketed, eroding the consumers’ buying power and pushing the consumer basket beyond the reach of many.