The intervention by government to rescind the decision by bakers to hike bread prices could not have come at any better time.
However, our appeal is for such intervention to spread out to other basic goods that have now been priced beyond the reach of the majority ahead of the festive season.
Parents are particularly looking forward to having something for their families to cheer about, but the rampant and cannibalistic hike in prices of basic goods — many of them with no reasonable justification — are likely to put a damper on this year’s Christmas festivities.
We, therefore, urge the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) to immediately look into the pricing system that has been met with shock by ordinary Zimbabweans at a time when the public are looking forward to a breath of fresh air in the economy following the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Yet, what has made the situation worse is that the price increases came at a time when many companies are even struggling to pay workers their dues. Worse still, many workers and the generality of Zimbabweans are also unable to access cash at their banks due to the prevailing liquidity crunch.
While we are grateful that Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister Mike Bimha made this timely intervention, Zimbabweans are worried by the silence around the shocking price hikes for other goods such as meat and rice that are on demand as we head for the festive season.
The majority are keen for a tangible solution that will ensure that they will not break the back while seeking to give their families a little cheer as a very difficult year draws to a close.
We do agree with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe that these price hikes have become an albatross on consumers’ neck and people need relief as a matter of urgency.
It is a fact that ordinary people are complaining particularly about the hike in meat products, with economy beef priced at over $9 per kg. This is indeed ridiculous and looks deliberately designed to ensure that those who are looking forward to braai parties, themselves a major highlight of festivities, will not be able to enjoy their first Christmas under Mnangagwa.
The culture of retailers seeking to make a killing during the festive season at the expense of the poor majority must be brought to an end.
Besides, Mnangagwa has promised to deal with profligacy in government, the public sector, and we urge the President to show some teeth by bringing to book corrupt individuals who amassed wealth by milking government.
That money, if brought back into the system, will go a long way in alleviating the economic challenges the country is facing.
We cannot push bakers and other suppliers of basic commodities to reduce the prices yet government is not doing anything to arrest the situation. It is time for government to ensure we eat what we kill.