THE ban on imports has triggered an increase in prices of basic commodities in the country, as competition has been reduced, allowing retailers to hike prices, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Last month, the government gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which restricts the importation of certain products, in a bid to boost local industries.
The regulations stipulate that importation of such products requires a permit, which is given quarterly and costs $30, but after convincing Industry and Commerce ministry on why the permit should be issued.
CCZ said due to the import ban, the cost of living, as measured by its low income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six, increased by 0,09% to $567,91 by end July 2016.
“As CCZ, we assume that the slight increase is due to the import ban, which was imposed by the government. The competition in the country has been reduced, hence, retailers tend to increase prices,” it said.
The food basket, however, decreased by 0,15% to $122,60, while the price of detergents increased by 6,8% to $11,31 from $10,59 recorded in June.
Figures from the consumer watchdog body also showed a decrease in prices was recorded in margarine by 4 cents to 85c, cooking oil by 5c to $1,35 per 750ml, rice lost 6c to $1,59 per 2kg, tomatoes fell by 15c to 65c, onions tumbled by 5c to $1,20 a bundle, cabbage by 5c to 65c a head and bath soap by 3c to 69c.
Increases in prices were recorded in tea leaves by 4c to $1,79, mealie meal by 40c to $10,80 per 20kg pag, salt by 3c to 23c per kg, washing powder by 20c to $1,45 and laundry bars by 6c to $1,05.
Prices of other basic commodities, which include sugar, bread, milk, flour and meat, remained unchanged from the end June 2016 figures.
Where the products were not certified, consumers were urged to exercise their right to information by carefully examining if the products they were purchasing were well-labelled, packaged and provided with vital information such as manufacturing and expiry dates and ingredients used in the making of the products.
The consumer lobby group conducts a survey twice, during the first and the last week of every month.
The price of each commodity was arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.