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Commission urges more competition to rein in price madness

24 Dec 2019 at 06:07hrs | Views
THE Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) has encouraged introduction of more producers and retailers to level out price distortions that have pushed the prices of basic commodities beyond the reach of many.

Addressing residents during a Price Indaba organised by the Bulawayo United Residents Association (Bura) in the city last week, CTC Director Ms Ellen Ruparanganda said competition within the market was a solution to protect consumers from exploitation.

The residents had called for re-introduction of price controls.

Ms Ruparanganda said the Government abolished price controls in the country as they contributed to food disturbances and shortages in shops.  

"The commission is not a price control commission but its mandate is to promote competition between key players in the industry ultimately for the benefit of the consumers. Competition is important in a situation like our country where there are many manufacturers operating. If the manufacturers compete, we tend to benefit as consumers because during the competition process prices are reduced as each manufacturer would want his or her products to be sold," said Ms Ruparanganda.  

The Director urged Government and other stakeholders across the value chain to work together in production of basic commodities to reduce continuous increase in prices of the commodities in the country.  Last week shops in Bulawayo started selling Government subsidised roller meal which resulted in prices being slashed by at least 50 percent.

A 20 kg bag of mealie meal that was being sold for about $200 now sells for around $100.  

"In an effort to avoid the excessive increase in prices of basic commodities like mealie meal in particular Government stakeholders in the industry community should work together by performing their respective roles properly," she said.  

"For example, when it comes to mealie meal production the stakeholders responsible like the Ministry of Agriculture should perform its role of ensuring that there is enough maize in the country either through agricultural activities or importation. For the importation of maize, the Ministry of Finance must issue the funds to purchase the maize. After production, CTC comes in to prevent companies from creating their own unions to determine prices of the commodities which they normally set at a higher rate. In cases where there are allegations of the corruption the Anti-Corruption Commission should also come in and play its role."   

Residents had urged the Government to re-introduce price controls to deal with the excessive increase in prices of basic commodities in the country.  They expressed concern over high basic commodity prices that are now beyond the reach of many.

Source - chroncile
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