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Business, consumers clash over prices

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The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) have clashed over recent price increases of basic commodities.

CCZ executive director Rosemary Siyachitema on Tuesday said the business community was quick to adjust prices upwards when it suits them but “never downwards”.

“We have seen prices shoot up significantly in recent months and the excuse has been that of rising fuel shortage,” said Siyachitema.

“Now that the price of fuel has gone down we have not seen a corresponding reduction.”

She said the world over if the price of fuel went down business correspondingly adjusted their prices downward but this was not so in Zimbabwe.

“Its not right what business is doing, we should also see going down,” said Siyachitema.

CZI president Joseph Kanyekanye said his organisation was never shy to criticise its members each time they go wayward in terms of pricing.

“Concerns have in the past been raised in the bakery industry,” said Kanyekanye.

“We must however be aware that business will have to price their products to such an extent that they remain viable.”

He said the liberalisation of the economy had resulted in competition hence the continued reduction in prices in most sectors.

Consumers have of late borne the brunt of increasing prices as evidenced by the surge in inflation.

January inflation rose to 3,3% from 3,2%.
Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency attributed the increase to the hikes in transport fares, rentals and food prices.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono in his monetary policy statement warned that the firming of the South African rand against the US dollar, coupled with the increase in international oil prices would continue to induce inflationary pressures in the economy.

“The second-round effects of the rise in fuel prices would be more pronounced as it is expected to cascade down to the other sectors of the economy,” said Gono.

“Resurging inflationary pressures have to be fought through the unfailing armoury of increased capacity utilisation across all productive sectors of the economy,” he said.

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