A snap survey conducted by this publication this week has revealed that prices of basic commodities like bread, flour, washing and bathing soap, and mazoe orange crush among others, have gone up by 3 to 18 percent.
Although availability of these basic commodities in shops is satisfactory, the price increase has shocked consumers who are currently struggling to make ends meet due to challenges being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread price in most retail shops for instance, has risen from an average of ZWL$100 to a new average of ZWL$107 which translates to a 7 percent increase. Gloria self-raising flour is now going for ZWL$243 up from ZWL$235 which translates to a 3 percent increase. Mahatma rice went up by 1.8 percent from an average of ZWL$319 to ZWL$325 per 2kg pack.
Mazowe orange crush which was once in short supply due to shortage of the seasonal citrus fruits is now on the market and has gone up from ZWL$299 to ZWL$354.99 which is 18 percent increase. Green bar washing soap has increased by 8 percent from an average of ZWL$115 to ZWL$125.
Economic analyst, Mr Sheperd Kwenda said the price increases were not justified given that most big shops get their forex from the auction system whose rates are currently stable.
“These big shops are reacting to the parallel market rates, which is not fair. Most of them are beneficiaries of the auction system where the rate is currently stable. There is need for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and responsible authorities to investigate on the issue and take appropriate action,” he said.
Parallel market rates are ranging between US$ 1: ZWL$130 to US$1:ZWL$145 which has led formal shops to increase their prices because they index their price with the parallel market rates.
The survey has also revealed that formal shops like OK, Choppies, Pick and Pay are complying with Statutory Instrument 127 of 2021.
The latest price increases have put consumers in a corner, especially considering that most companies and Government are yet to increase salaries for their workers.