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Cooking oil finds way to black market

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Cooking oil has found its way to the black market in Gweru, as leading retailers in the city have run out of the commodity, a snap survey has shown.

BY Stephen Chadenga

Big supermarkets such as Pick n Pay and OK Zimbabwe had no cooking oil on their shelves, with small retail shops selling a 2-litre bottle for as much as $7.

At the weekend, the Midlands capital like most parts of the country, was hit by a wave of panic buying, which was characterised by the hoarding of most basic goods such as sugar and cooking oil.

A 2-litre cooking oil bottle, whose price was $3,60 is now being sold for $5 at places such as Kudzanayi bus terminus.

“I managed to buy plenty of cooking oil during the panic buying spree last week and I am selling it for $5,” a vendor, who cannot be named, said.

“I know it is illegal, but the situation is abnormal, any way and besides my price is $2 less than what is being charged in some shops.”

The mini survey also showed an increase in the prices of basic commodities such as soap, mealie-meal, rice and flour.
The price of 2kg brown sugar has increased from $1,85 to $2,10, standard 2kg rice, which was $1,85 now costs between $2,30 and $2,70.

Players in the retail sector attribute the increase to foreign currency shortages.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers marketing and stakeholder relations director, Alois Burutsa was recently quoted saying his organisation believed the price increases were a result of retailers turning to the parallel market for foreign currency, which is scarce in formal channels.

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