Consumers demand price cuts

Published: 24 September 2019
CONSUMERS have called on the business community to reduce prices in line with the decline in exchange rates and implored Government to create a framework that guides pricing based on productive fundamentals.

The call follows an outcry over the latest wave of steep price increases in response to last week's foreign currency exchange rate spike, which breached the US$1:ZWL$20 mark.  

While the rates have tumbled to about US$1: ZWL$14 following Government intervention in dealing with speculative elements in the market, prices have not been adjusted.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) regional manager, Mr Comfort Muchekeza, said pricing should not be based on exchange rates but on principles of supply and demand.

"We are not in agreement with a system where we peg our prices using the rand or the US dollar. Prices should drop but not necessarily because of rates.  

"We are a nation with its own currency and our prices should be related to our currency," he said.

"Look at South Africa just across the border, their prices don't just go up and down based on the relationship between the rand and the US dollar."

Mr Muchekeza said the business community should introspect and consider their consumers before agreeing on a certain price benchmark. He criticised the uniformity of prices of most basics, which he said was reflective of some collusion by the players.

"While we should always relate to other currencies, these things should not happen on a daily basis where we say 'if the rand gains today our bond loses value, and the prices change immediately'. This should be a long-term effect, not immediate effect," said Mr Muchekeza.

Consumer Rights Association spokesperson, Mr Effie Ncube, concurred saying Government must ensure that consumers and businesses have confidence in the economy through a stable currency.

"We need as a country to ensure that we stamp out corruption across the entire supply chain so that whatever is being sold is based on market forces and responds to market forces.  "This is not limited only to supply of goods and services by supermarkets only, but also in the transport sector.  

"When the price of fuel goes up, they raise their fares but when it goes down fares never drop," he said.
- chronicle
Tags: Consumers,


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