BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Government has entered into negotiations with bakers to have the price of bread adjusted downwards following a recent price hike.
Sources who attended the meeting yesterday said government was pushing for the price of a loaf of bread to be pegged at $1,80, instead of $2,60 being charged by the bakers.
Bakers defended their decision to increase the prices, citing a rise in the cost of production and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s failure to disburse foreign currency that would enable them to pay for some unavoidable export requirements.
National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe president Ngoni Mazango told NewsDay that engagements were ongoing.
“There are engagements that are taking place at the moment. That’s all that I can tell you,” he said.
“That’s enough to say there are engagements that are taking place, that’s enough.”
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said consumers were not looking forward to any increases because they have had to put up with a lot of them.
“What we understand, because we can speak to the ministry and are doing a follow-up on the discussions between the Ministry of Industry and bakers, is that they are still holding the discussions and apparently, they need to determine the price of bread by Friday so that we know because they are saying there are issues that are there in terms of cost of inputs, the things that they put when they are making the bread,” she said.
Siyachitema said consumers were waiting with bated breath, as they were not looking forward to any increases.
“You wake up, there is an increase; you wake up there is another increase and bread, as we know, is a basic. Things like bread and mealie meal are basics and it’s important that they are not priced beyond their (consumers) pockets,” she said.
“I think the government needs to come up with some understanding of how those prices can be maintained at a level that consumers can afford.”
Efforts to get a comment from Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu were fruitless.