Byo retailers stick to rip-off prices

Joseph Tshuma

Joseph Tshuma

Chronicle Reporters
MOST shops in Bulawayo have not reduced their prices following unjustified increases on basic commodities and services in the market in September.

The recent price hikes induced panic buying in the market following some reckless social media reports that the country was going to face food shortages.

A snap survey by The Chronicle yesterday revealed that despite the recent Cabinet endorsement of a raft of measures to stabilise prices and resolve production and supply bottlenecks, some retailers in Bulawayo were still charging exorbitant prices.

Cooking oil, in some retail shops, was being sold for $4 per two-litre up from above $3 before the price hikes.

This paper also established that some veterinary products that were sold for $4 two months ago had their prices increased by 300 percent to $12.

Prices for livestock vaccines and chemicals such as teremicing and ESB3 have also shot up.

Fastfood outlets have not been left out in the price hike madness with food that used to sell at $2 going up to $2,50.

Hair products have also shot up with Dark and Lovely hair relaxer shooting up to $10 from $6,40 at a city supermarket.

Sanitary pads that were sold for $1,50 have increased to $2,60 and some tissue papers which were going for $1,05 before the price increases are now ranging between $2 and $4.

Some shop-owners have blamed price increases on the shortage of foreign currency.

Mpopoma-Pelandaba legislator Cde Joseph Tshuma, who last week conducted a price hike tour in the city’s retail outlets and concluded that some price increases were unjustified, said he would table the matter in Parliament this week.

“Next week in Parliament I will table a motion calling for legislation on prices because the Competition and Tariffs Commission needs to be empowered as it is a toothless dog.

“This comes as the fining of companies which violate the law is not effective. We need to withdraw some of the licences of such businesses to protect consumers,” said Cde Tshuma.

Last week, Government warned that it would consider revoking operating licences of businesses found guilty of unilateral and unjustified price increases following a raft of measures to stabilise prices and resolve production and supply bottlenecks.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha is on record as saying Cabinet early last month resolved to set up a special taskforce on price stabilisation and supply of essential commodities following price hikes and supply bottlenecks experienced from September 22-24.

Dr Bimha has said businesses, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers are a creation of some licensing process and Government would consider revoking the licences for delinquent entities found on the wrong side of the law.

The Government has since identified 15 essential products which are key and of interest to consumers, for which it would ensure prioritisation in the allocation of foreign currency to import key raw materials for their production.

The commodities include cooking oil, sugar, laundry soap, cement, fuel, flour, rice fuel, milk, eggs, salt, beef, chicken, washing powder, bread mealie meal.

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  • Pilato

    Check beef as well

    • why

      as for beef the price has skyrocketed,

  • dubo

    These price increases are not justified as they order in SA which uses the rand which is less than the US we are using, they make it seem as if the US dollar trades at less than a rand, some supermarkets are culprits because they also receive hard cash in their cash tills but behave as if they get nothing

    • zibulo

      you are very short sighted and rush to speak without reasoning. How much does it cost to get USD1.00, seeing that your Govt forces all to use the useless bond ?? If you were doing business you would pass on the cost of getting the USD in order to be viable. Business is not an NGO or state dept. Direct your anger at your leadership. No one is supposed to control prices . Find out why there is instability and where your leaders have lost it

      • Mkhusto

        Okokuqala uhulumende lowo lawe ngowakho kanye lemali yakhona. Qhubeka nge bhizinisi lakho lathi sizabona ukuthi sizathenga ngaphi nanku phela amasango asevulekile

        • zibulo

          was explaining to this chap about blaming business for price increases, instead of noticing that its Exchange Control that has failed to control Foreign Exchange. Me and you will do what we can to make it in a harsh environ like this, we are not enemies, we are only responding to market forces.

      • hello

        dubo kafundanga

  • zibulo

    If Byo prices are still high as he says, what does it point to? Obviously an imbalance in the distributrion of income and wealth in the country.Who is more economically empowered in this region- the local man or the favored tribe ? Who enjoys a higher standard of living in this region in these hard times-obviously the one in State Employment- civil service, police , ko Mhlahlandlela , koMsitheli, passport Office, in local towns and District Offices – its the Shona . So if this region is discriminated against and kuthiwa we shouldn’t mention tribalism , is it right. Shona in Mthwakazi are 90 per cent employed here, it is bad unfair , immoral, but like the Whites also did when they dicrimanted agains’t the blacks, they have reasons that locals are “uneducated”.And stupids Ndebele ZANU leaders cant see beyond what their Harare masters tell them. They speak politically , not REALITY

    • God of War

      Wena, you have a serious inferiority problem. Why do you think that you are less than Shona’s? Grow a set man.

      • zibulo

        hey wena , i talk about reality !!!!. am i lying about the employm,ent statistics ?? Income earned in the Region is sent Home by “immigrant workers” kumusha. Does it boost local business? No . coz its spent back home khonale. i AM NOT INFERIOR to a shona. You do try to be ‘fair” but always avoid this issue. Its a feeling in the region baba, deny it or not. When communities call each other nasty names like Swina , do you think its from nowhere. There is hate , even if ZANU radio and TV do like Smith and hide the truth, instead of working on correcting things. Wise white people in UK always told racist whites in Rhodesia/Zim to leave Zim to blacks, coz its their place, so do Shonas in Mash/Manic/ areas, they comment on Herald and say to the shonas making noise and being favoured here , let the Matebeles also run affairs here, its their place. IT HAS TO BE 90 percent Mthwakazi people in state jobs here , wena take your education and develop your jome and people , they need you

        • God of War

          Unfortunately for you; you are stuck here with me and my extended family. Bulawayo is my home and i intend to buy or build a house here no matter which uneducated fool calls me swina or whatever. As long as you don’t impede me from eating at Roosters or clubbing at Tincup; i don’t give a rats behind what you call me or think about me. Maybe you need a hug but deal with it, we will co-exist whether you like it or not. Let me stay in peace in Malindela and i will also let you enjoy your life in Nguboyenja.

  • Accumulator

    That’s what you get in a country with corrupt government. Keep on voting for them the answer is sufferation

    • Essexvale***

      Indeed, the government has to take it’s share of the blame; but what we’re currently witnessing is blatant mischief by a significant number of retailers who are taking advantage of a bad situation in order to make indecent profits!

      • zibulo

        entrepreneurship is Seeing an Opportunity and siezing it to make Profit. You , the consumer, will pay a price determined by the Market Forces of Supply and Demand!!. Shortage of goods means scarcity or higher price, Abundance of goods means a lower price for it. Govt holds the key to all of this, but since they are crooks, and you dont understand this,so they first see how much they will make before fooling guys like you again with “price controls”. Price controls do not work, they stifle business. Govt should make doing biz very easy, but its very difficult in Zim . As long as fools like you rush to comment on topics they know little about . Profit depends on the economic environment. Buy low sell high, at market price , not at your price. If there is a shortage of what you want Govt corrects by putting measures to boost supply and release funding for genuine business people , not ZANU youths !!!

  • Truth

    The only solution to deal with price hikes is to allow individuals to import basic goods without having to require licences, and removing import tax on basic goods, the shops will find themselves with excess goods and they ll b forced to slash prices before expiry dates. l hope responsible authorities will read this simple Economics 101