CASH CRISIS :PRICES SOAR | There has been a steady increase in the prices of some commodities over the last few weeks in the country’s leading retail outlets with players in the sector attributing the surge to foreign currency shortages.
A snap survey by The Herald Business in some of the leading retailers, Pick n Pay, Food World and OK Zimbabwe, show a uniform general hike in prices of imported goods that started in September with demand increasing as schools opened.
The price increases range from basic commodities such as mealie-meal, rice, flour, bath soaps and laundry soap, the mini survey revealed. The cost of standard 2kg rice, which was $1,80 in July has increased to between $2,29 and $2,63. A packet of 2kg self-raising flour has in the past few weeks jumped 22 percent from $1,71 to $2,10. The cost of 2kg brown sugar has increased from $1,85 to $1,95 while laundry soap bar now ranges between $1,29 and $2,45 from $1,21.
One needs at least $135 to buy US$100 through banks transfers. The trend is also similar with other basic food items and goodies. However, the rate in price hikes range from one retailer to the other. Indications are that the cost of importing some goods or basic raw materials for manufacturing has increased due to foreign currency shortages, subsequently pushing total cost of production and prices up.
Commenting on the developments yesterday, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers marketing and stakeholder relations director Alois Burutsa, said the organisation had also seen the price increases.
“We have definitely seen prices going up and we believe this is a result of retailers resorting to the illegal market to source foreign currency, which has not been forth coming from formal channels.
“The cost of money from the illegal market is very high and retailers have no choice but to pass some of that cost to consumers. Mr Burutsa said retailers had since approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to get foreign currency.
“The RBZ has asked us to compile our forex requirements and we are still in that process although we have submitted some requests for forex,” said Mr Burutsa. On the issue of vending, Mr Burutsa said the CZR is working on hosting an all stakeholders meeting with the RBZ, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Local Authorities to try and stop the rot.