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Tough times ahead for consumers

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The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says consumers should brace for tougher times ahead as it expects prices of basic commodities to increase following the recent 31% electricity hike by Zesa Holdings.

The electricity tariff increases are expected to be felt when the consumer watchdog reviews the consumer basket at the end of the month.

CCZ executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said since the beginning of the year the consumer basket had been increasing marginally.

Price increases have been noted in certain products in the food and detergents basket in recent months.

“CCZ anticipates an increase in the September family basket due to an increase in the prices of basic commodities, considering that duty has been effected on imported basic goods as well as the recent electricity tariff hike by Zesa,” said Siyachitema

“However, CCZ will continue to monitor the situation closely because we already feel that goods are overpriced.”

The food basket for the month of August increased to $146,71 from $146,27 while the food and detergent basket rose to $161,06 from $160,16 in July reflecting a 0,01% increase.

CCZ said fuel remained at between $1,30 and $1,43 in August while locally manufactured goods are still not being supplied at adequate levels resulting in them uncompetitive with goods from South Africa.

The basket for transport, rent, water and electricity, health, education, clothing and footwear remained at $344 although there is a challenge in the area of water supply where a number of households are still running dry.

“CCZ wants to see all households receiving bills or at least bills generated from meter read every quarter. CCZ commends government for cutting water and rates charges to levels that are accessible to consumers, but consumer are also encouraged to conserve water and energy,” Siyachitema said.

She said the consumer body was unable to reach some of the remotest parts of the country hence the information they provide is for the urban basket.

Siyachitema added that it was important to know the movements in prices in the country.

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