Some bakeries are reportedly demanding payment in United States dollars only, leading to an “artificial” shortage of bread in some parts of the country.
Zimbabwe’s major bakeries, Lobel’s Bread and Bakers Inn on Saturday 4 June, hiked the price of bread from less than $500 to $636 per loaf.
Tuckshop owners in Harare on Friday told NewsDay that they were failing to get enough bread supplies from bakeries, who only want foreign currency for bread orders.
Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) national chairman Tafadzwa Musarara, however, said there is no reason for the country to experience bread shortages as there is adequate wheat in the country.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu urged members of the public to shun shops demanding only US dollars for bread. Mutashu said:
The retail sector and consumers have no capacity to pay in US$ for bread when they earn local currency. Bread should continue to be accessible in all currencies.
CZR is engaging GMAZ and the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) over the issue.
Bread is a key basic commodity and once it is sold in US$ for whatever reason, the whole economy will follow suit and dollarise.
Meanwhile, National Association of Consumer Rights spokesperson Effie Ncube said that it’s natural for bakeries to demand foreign currency since Government departments are also charging for services in US dollars. He said:
The bakeries are now following the example of the government which has allowed the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) to charge examination fees in US$.
It is not surprising that some bakeries are now demanding US$ for bread.