By Fidelity Mhlanga
Grain Millers Association (GMAZ) says it will this week move around the country, monitoring prices of basic commodities to protect consumers from being short-changed by unscrupulous retailers.
Earlier this month, GMAZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Confederation of Zimbabwean Retailers and agreed on a model pricing system of basic commodities.
“Starting this week, this committee (Ethics Committee) and the GMAZ secretariat will be moving from towns to cities, holding meetings with retailers, explaining to them the objective of this initiative so that there is buy-in,” GMAZ ethics chairman Alvin Mparutsa said yesterday.
“We will start by engaging Bulawayo retailers, followed by their Gweru counterparts before moving to Mutare and Masvingo, just to mention a few cities and towns.”
Mparutsa said millers, as suppliers of mealie-meal, flour, salt and rice, had a moral obligation to protect consumers from unwarranted price increases by some unscrupulous business dealers.
He added that the exercise was not for price control purposes, but a voluntary price monitoring initiative by the industry.
“Our major thrust will be to hear from retailers the challenges they might be facing that could be making it difficult for them to comply with the prices we agreed on for our products. We are doing this so that we amicably move together and eradicate price distortions.”
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe chairman Philip Bvumbe recommended that the GMAZ and his organisation undertake a parallel meeting with consumers to hear their concerns.
“We are supporting this initiative to have reasonable cost models that are affordable to the consumers. We hope the market will respond so that we have prices that are accessible to citizens. We do not want price controls as this will see us having empty shelves,” Bvumbe said.