Citizens agonise over price hikes

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BY SHARON BUWERIMWE
A CROSS-SECTION of Zimbabweans, feeling the pinch of sporadic price hikes, have called for long-lasting measures to arrest the price increases as inflation continues to erode workers’ salaries.

The country’s inflation soared to 72,7% in March, from 66,1% in February, reaching its highest since last year in June amid growing broad money supply and quasi-fiscal activities that have caused a liquidity crunch in the economy.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association president Denford Mutashu yesterday said: “We need to improve the quality of wages and salaries because it is one of the reasons why prices have seemed to be so high. Salaries and prices are not moving at the same pace, and one way of eliminating all this challenge is to reduce the impact of the parallel market exchange rate. We need the environment to obtain some sense of sanity because the growth of the parallel market exchange rate is an indication of lawlessness and indiscipline.

“We could probably reduce the impact because the informal sector is about 80%-90%. The black market in every sphere should be limited to around less than 10% activities within an economy. In our case it has been driving price hikes, and I don’t think we should continue to watch it unfold.”

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Midlands regional officer Chiedza Chikumbirike-Harunashe said: “The government should do something for the consumers by  making sure that their salaries match prices because if we look at the consumer basket right now, it’s almost $92 000 plus and also the price of bread has gone up so much at $500. They are blaming the hike on the issue of wheat which is imported from Russia and Ukraine. Consumers are always at the receiving end.”

Last week President Emmerson Mnangagwa blamed businesses for the price hikes accusing them of sabotaging the economy.

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