Govt should balance prices and salaries: CCZ

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Finance minister Mthuli Ncube

THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says government should balance between pricing of goods and salaries to prevent a situation where the loss of value on earnings would impoverish consumers.

BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

CCZ made the remarks after civil servants rejected a 50% salary raise and a non-taxable US$75 COVID-19 allowance announced by Treasury on Wednesday.

The workers have described the offer as insignificant considering the soaring prices of basic commodities in recent weeks.

CCZ regional manager for Bulawayo, Comfort Muchekedza yesterday said there should be a balance between pricing of goods and salaries.

“Consumers have a right to basic needs and this right is very important and should not be taken for granted,” Muchekedza said.

“In our case, the government, being the custodian of all citizens, has to make sure that all the citizens have access to basic needs. If citizens are buying goods, they have to be affordable and an equal match between salaries and prices.”

Muchekedza said prices should not run away from income.

“The price of bread is now too much. At the current $62 per loaf, one needs more than $1 500 for bread only, how many can afford that?” he asked.

Muchekedza said more worrying was that government’s subsidised mealie-meal was not reaching many, forcing the population to buy a 10kg packet of the staple commodity at $250 as opposed to $70.

“A family usually needs 30kg of mealie-meal per month and you say $250 multiplied by three, it is $750 and to add to $1 500 for bread, the whole salary is over. You haven’t talked about sugar, cooking, bills and transport money,” Muchekedza added.

“All these costs really don’t match with the income and government should meet with stakeholders and come up with a resolution.”