Manufacturers condemn price hikes

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Business Reporters
MANUFACTURERS through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) have condemned the recent spate of price increases accusing retailers of profiteering.

Addressing delegates who attended a pre-budget dialogue symposium organised by The Chronicle in Bulawayo on Tuesday, CZI Matabeleland president, Mr Joseph Gunda, said producers under his association had agreed not to increase prices despite shortages of foreign currency as they prefer engaging the apex bank for allocations towards critical raw material imports.

He said as an association they were disturbed by the recent price increases, which he felt were unjustified and bent on sheer profiteering.

“We are seeing price hikes in retail shops and we do not know what triggered them. We need to know whether the suppliers have increased prices. This is profiteering and its a disease that we have as Zimbabweans.

“We have said as CZI that we are not increasing prices but would rather pressure RBZ for allocations. This is an attitude problem that we have as Zimbabweans, we like imports and profiteering.”

Participants also expressed shock over price increases and there are fears that continued price increases could retard gains made under import management.

“Prices have been going up everyday in the past weeks and this is seriously affecting consumers. The Government has to do something to control this madness,” said one of the participants.

“There is lack of discipline and that should not be allowed to continue. There should be a reason for prices to go up not just for the sake of profiteering.”

In some shops prices of basic commodities have nearly doubled especially cooking oil. Delegates said it was shocking that even prices of products that did not require imported raw materials such as bricks have also gone up.

CZI said it will maintain close contact and dialogue with the central bank and urged companies to use the organisation when they have challenges regarding the allocation of forex for raw materials imports.

Meanwhile, retailers have said the price increases are a result of low commodity supplies from producers. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Mr Denford Mutashu said improved supplies would stabilise the prices.

“Cooking oil producers have not increased the price of cooking oil despite its shortage on the market and as CZR we do not condone the hiking of prices to increase profits.”

Mr Mutashu blamed unregistered retailers for increasing prices but hoped that measures being put by Government to ease foreign currency shortage were going to yield positive results soon.

In the meantime, Mr Mutashu suggested that Government should allow those retailers with the capacity to import cooking oil to do so until local producers are able to meet demand.

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  • Essexvale

    Apparently all the concerned stakeholders must share the blame for the recent steep increases in commodity prices. A number of manufacturers who sell directly to the public via their factory shops, have upped prices of their products. On the other hand, unregistered retailers (including opportunistic vendors) are creating artificial shortages of goods in shops, by cleaning out retail stores of basics and selling the same to the public at double the stipulated cost. There are also fears that retailers viewing the activities of unlicensed sellers, are cashing in by giving their goods to these sellers for sale on a commission basis. As for curbing price hikes? We saw the ineffectiveness of government’s attempts at stemming ballooning prices during the hyperinflationary era from 2006 – 2009. There is nothing which suggests that things have since changed, given that the same government, which was then in place, is still pursuing the same decrepit policies that it did at the time. So what’s to be done? Citizens need to go to the 2018 polls, bearing in mind the challenges faced by the country and vote for a government that appreciates the need to take adequate care of the nation’s welfare, besides being dedicated toward fixing our socio-economic problems.