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.