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Price monitors unleashed in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
26 May 2019 at 13:41hrs | Views
THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) will this week dispatch price monitors countrywide to ascertain the model being employed by retailers on basic commodities amid an outcry from consumers on unwarranted price increases.

GMAZ media and public relations manager Mr Garikai Chaunza said the association would end a week-long training of price monitors which was conducted in major towns and cities today.

"The training of monitors ends this weekend (today) while the engagement with retailers is still ongoing and we have covered Bulawayo and Midlands provinces," he said.

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. GMAZ is made up of members, which produce basic commodities such as maize meal, salt, rice and flour.

"We are monitoring the prices of commodities, which we produce and these are maize meal, salt, rice and flour. At the moment we are not yet on the ground. We are still training monitors and we are also engaging with retailers so that we have a buy in, we will deploy our teams. Next week (this week) we are deploying price monitors nationwide," said Mr Chaunza.

He said the pricing monitoring exercise was necessitated following continuous outcry by consumers on wanton price increases on basic commodities over the last few months.

"Consumers have been raising an outcry on prices and we took it upon ourselves to ensure that retailers adhere to the prices we agreed on as part of our ethical and moral obligation to monitor the retailers we supply. Traditionally retailers are obliged to put a markup of 10 percent plus two percent being tax on a product, which means for a 10kg bag of maize meal, which we sell to them at $10,50 it shouldn't exceed $11,85," said Mr Chaunza.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said the monitoring exercise was meant to ensure retailers adhere to normal pricing model principles.

"Basically we are saying that we are promoting a responsible pricing focusing on the four products that we included on the MOU which are key basics like mealie-meal, flour, salt and rice. So what we basically did was to agree that retailers will charge the normal markups, which are traditional normal mark ups that have always been charged on those products and not take advantage of situation like shortages or engaging in speculative behaviour," he said.

Mr Mutashu said the price monitoring exercise would protect consumers from wanton price increases, which are instigated by some unscrupulous businesses.

"We are also doing this to protect the consumer to ensure that they always afford the basics. It's a good start so far, the response has been positive and the millers have also committed to sending out fair prices to the market and not engaging in wanton pricing increases. So basically it's an arrangement which we believe can work," he said.

Mr Mutashu said there was a need for players along the value chain to exercise fair self-regulatory pricing and desist from tempting Government to interfere on their business in its efforts to protect consumers.

"The major focus there is self-regulation. We are saying we need to self-regulate the market without getting Government to jump in and thinking of effecting price controls. That's the basis of such an arrangement to say business is able to self-regulate. We don't really need the Government to come through and effect price controls when we can sit down among ourselves along the value chain and agree on things that are achievable because this is something that is achievable," he said.

The country has witnessed massive price increases over the past few weeks that have eroded the purchasing power of the general public. The business community has been accused of greediness as some of the pricing models employed are not justifiable.

Source - sundaynews