Invest in local production – CCZ

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The Consumer Council (CCZ) of Zimbabwe says there is need to invest more in the local manufacturing industry as this would go a long way in reducing price increases.

Prices of basic commodities have been on an upward trend in the first quarter of this year, resulting in consumers spending more for less.

In January the monthly basket stood at $509,17 while in March the basket decreased to $504,38.

Basic commodities whose prices rose significantly during the quarter include margarine, mealie-meal, fresh milk, cooking oil, flour, rice, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, washing bars and washing powder.

CCZ executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said, “unless there is a huge increase in production by local producers and manufacturers, local products will continue to be uncompetitive in terms of pricing to imported ones”.

Capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector is estimated at around 43,7%.

“In our projections of the second quarter, we do not see any real change for consumers considering that we feel that prices were already high.

“If the cost of oil on the international market continues to increase, fuel price on the local market is bound to increase and the cost will be pushed on to the consumers,” said Siyachitema.

She said retailers were pricing their goods to the nearest dollar in a bid to avoid issuing change to consumers.

The issue of change has persisted despite indications by the Ministry of Finance in the 2011 Budget that this would be a thing of the past.