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Businesses warned over price hikes

by Staff Reporter
27 Dec 2019 at 09:37hrs | Views
BUSINESSES should exercise restraint when raising prices of goods and services as this frustrates consumption of local products and gives advantage to cheap imports and substandard smuggled products.

The country desperately needs to tame its trade deficit by substituting unnecessary imports, which requires local goods to be competitively priced, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.

It warned that persistent price escalation is a disadvantage to the consumption of local products as it pushes the market to seek cheap imports.

This happens at a time when industry stakeholders and Government are pushing for a local content strategy to trim imports and reduce perennial trade deficit.

In an interview CCZ regional manager, Mr Comfort Muchekeza, said while they were working together with local companies to promote the Buy Zimbabwe campaign, consumers feel betrayed by the persistent price increases.

"It is easy to tell consumers to buy local products but those products should be competitive in terms of quality and price. One aspect, which was raised from the clothing sector was the issue of bales where one can go with a US$1 and can come up with something," he said.

"Consumers end up buying expensive products and yet we know that some of these are not produced in Zimbabwe.  

"We encourage consumers to buy products from shops, products that are produced locally so as to create employment and circulate money in the country. Even if the product has a problem, we can approach the producers and find a solution."

Mr Muchekeza said that the local products should be affordable and should be of high quality.

"We are pushing for prices reduction. Manufacturers and retailers must have a self-regulatory mechanism and should not wait for statutory instruments to control them," he said.

CCZ said many consumers were buying cheap foreign products sold on streets and some were travelling to neighbouring countries like South Africa and Botswana to buy groceries.

Source - Chronicle