PRICES of some basic commodities have begun to go down in Bulawayo with retailers putting back goods on their shelves.
In the past week, Zimbabwe experienced a sharp increase in prices of basic commodities on the back of spiralling parallel market exchange rates between the US dollar and bond notes or electronic/mobile money. This forced manufacturers to issue press statements saying they had not increased prices, hence the hikes were not justified.
Most retailers in the city have put back basic commodities on their shelves and at relatively reduced prices.
A 20 kg bag of mealie meal has been reduced from an average of $20 to $11 while a 10 kg bag has been reduced from $7,50 to $5.
A 2kg bag of rice has gone down from an average of $6 to an average of $3 while 2kg of sugar has been reduced from an average of $3 to $1,80.
A snap survey by The Chronicle indicated that there are still cooking oil shortages in supermarkets probably due to panic buying with informal traders selling it at around $10 per 2 litre on the black market.
Fuel prices remained unchanged during the price hike madness.
Pharmacies have not reduced prices and most are demanding payments in foreign currency. Some pharmacies do not have some critical medication required for patients with chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes.
Over the weekend, President Mnangagwa said Government is in the process of putting mechanisms in place to protect consumers’ earnings and savings both in local and foreign currency, including $9 billion in Real-time Gross Settlement Systems (RTGS) deposits.
“Government continues to work flat out to protect consumers, defend wage values and secure savings. This includes the $9 billion in RTGS deposits in our banks. We are already putting in place legally enforceable measures to protect such earnings and savings, whether in local or foreign currency. No one will lose their money,” he said.
The President urged the nation to embrace the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), saying there were pains to be borne and sacrifices to be made before things start looking up for the ordinary man in the street.
TSP, which was recently presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, is a sound fiscal adjustment policy aimed at enhancing the country’s economic growth and development.
The President said his administration under the Second Republic is committed to addressing the issue of instability in prices.
“This process has triggered initial dis-equilibria in the economy, which have shown by way of instability in prices. I am fully conscious of this and remain committed to ensure that we stabilise things in the shortest possible time. Equally, I am aware that information must continue to flow to the citizenry so that there is an appreciation of the direction we are taking, the course we must walk and the sacrifices to be made, and for how long,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reiterated that there was no need for people to panic in light of the prevailing economic situation.
“Temporary pressures must not blind us to the major gains we have made and continue to make on the economic front.
“Let us keep our focus on things that matter and on what needs to be urgently done,” added the President.