The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has condemned recent price increases which it says have eroded consumers’ buying power.
A survey by The Zimbabwe Independent has shown that prices increased by about 30% during the first week of April.
The majority of businesses set their prices based on the parallel market rates which currently range between ZWL$280 and ZWL$300 to US$1. The official rate stands at US$1:ZWL$145.
This development has pushed households into extreme poverty as workers’ salaries are being eroded by inflation which is now 72.7%.
In an interview with The Zimbabwe Independent, CCZ public relations officer Christopher Kamba said the economic challenges facing the country and the war in Ukraine do not justify the price increases. Said Kamba:
We are concerned about incessant price increases which have eroded the buying power of consumers.
While we appreciate the challenges the economy is facing and other external factors like the current global dynamics, including disturbances in Ukraine which were expected to result in spillover effects on domestic prices, service providers have taken advantage of the situation to increase prices.
Even those who benefit from the RBZ auction system are pricing in accordance with parallel market rates.
We urge the authorities to blacklist those who are abusing the auction system to ensure stability in the marketplace.
According to The Zimbabwe Independent, mealie meal which cost ZW$1 159,99 (US$7,84) in March is now ZW$1 271,55 (US$8,59) and 2kg sugar, which was priced at ZW$565,99 (US$3,82) in March, now costs ZW$629.99 (US$4,26).
Other products whose prices have been increased sharply include cooking oil, which cost ZW$989,99 (US$6,69) in March, is now ZW$1 179,99 (US$7,97) and beef was ZW$1 199,90 (US$8,11) is now costs ZW$1 329,90 (US$9). A loaf of bread, which was going for ZW$239,99 (US$1,62) last month, now costs ZW$273,99 (US$1,85).