Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
PRICES of basic commodities have increased by up to 100 percent this week thereby pushing the prices beyond the reach of most consumers.
Shops, including big supermarkets, have increased prices of basic goods such as bread, mealie-meal, cooking oil, meat, rice and vegetables among others.
A snap survey carried out by The Chronicle in Bulawayo yesterday revealed that prices of basic commodities have been increased by up to 100 percent.
A two-litre bottle of cooking oil, which was selling at around $28, has increased to $35.
The price of a 10kg bag of mealie-meal has been increased from $27 to about $68 but most supermarkets do not have the mealie-meal.
The price of a loaf of bread has also gone up from $6,90 to $9 while that of 1kg of salt has gone up from $4 to $7.
The price of a 1kg packet of Cremora has gone up from $40 to $50 and that of a packet of 2kg rice has increased from $20 to $25.
Vegetables have also become a luxury as prices have sharply increased with a pocket of potatoes going for $50 up from $38.
A 2kg portion of chicken cuts is now selling for between $40 and $45 while the price of a kg of beef is now pegged at $39 or more depending on the quality.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Mr Denford Mutashu attributed the price increases to the changing interbank rates and speculation by retailers.
He said the speculative behaviour emanates from the fact that Government has stopped publishing inflation figures.
“While we remain positive and optimistic that the prices will stabilise, there is need to provide all the required information. Month- on-month and year-on-year inflation figures are important for planning purposes,” he said.
Mr Mutashu said there was also a need to ensure uninterrupted power supplies to enable manufacturers to use their time productively as opposed to paying idle workers.
Consumers in Bulawayo said the prices of most basic commodities were no longer affordable. Mr Lindela Dube, a taxi driver, said the prices were not commensurate with the levels of salaries people were earning.
“If this trend of price increases is not controlled, people will fail to feed their families. People are already struggling to put food on the table and something must be done urgently to rein in retailers. Food is there in the shops but people cannot afford the prices,” he said.
Ms Stella Mashava, a civil servant, said most workers’ salaries were no longer enough to buy just the basics making it pointless to go to work.
“The prices we are seeing in these shops are frustrating given our meagre salaries,” she said.
Mrs Mashava said it was time Government put in place measures to control prices especially of basic commodities that people cannot do without.
Mrs Ntombizodwa Mlilo, a vendor, said it was worrying that the prices were being increased at a time when the economy was not doing well.—@pamelashumba1