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CCZ bemoans price increases

by Staff reporter
20 Dec 2020 at 07:03hrs | Views
THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has bemoaned the steady increase in prices, saying the trend defies the economic environment in the country.

Rose Mpofu, the CCZ deputy director, said businesses must ensure that prices are realistic especially compared to what is obtaining in neighbouring countries.

"We appreciate very much all the information that we are getting about the stabilisation and also particularly the inflation which is going down, especially the month-on-month. However, we continue to realise that in fact prices are not really going down.

"In fact, sometimes prices are going up," Mpofu said at the recent Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) 6th Annual Business Review Conference held in Harare.

"At what point are we going to realise prices that are realistic especially when we compare with other countries in the region?

"Sentiments we are getting from business when we interact with them is that they complain about the raw material and that they are fighting problems of high taxes for those raw materials."

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya told the same event that businesses were using different foreign currency exchange rates, resulting in distortions.

"You are very right about what is being observed. Others (businesses) use $90, $95 and $100 (exchange rate against the United States dollar), again as stated, this is non-compliance," Mangudya said.

"It is nothing else besides non-compliance."

The rising prices have raised questions about Zimbawe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) inflation figures, which show a downward trend.

According to Zimstat, the inflation rate eased to 401,66% in November year-on-year from 471,25% the previous month.

It said on a monthly basis, prices increased by 3,1% compared with 4,37% previously.

The regular price increases come in the background of dwindling disposable incomes, reduced consumer spending, high unemployment as businesses cut jobs to reduce costs, and eroding wages caused by a depreciating local currency.

Temba Mliswa, the Norton MP, told the conference that civil servants were hardest hit by the price increases.

"Somebody who was being paid US$500 recently is now getting US$50," Mliswa said. "So how then can this money buy anything?"

Mangudya pleaded with consumers to be patient as he promised that the spate of price increases would come to an end.

Source - the standard