THE prices of coffins has gone up by more than 100 percent in recent months forcing dozens whose relatives are dying without funeral covers to turn to small entrepreneurs whose prices are still affordable and up for negotiation.
The move comes as funeral parlours have also indicated that costs for a burial now range between RTGS$3 000 and RTGS$4 000 forcing them to adjust premiums to meet the costs. Small-scale coffin manufacturers said business has gone up in recent weeks as many people were opting for their services.
“We cannot compete with large funeral assurance companies as they provide exquisite coffins and advantageous packages but our aim will remain as to provide affordable coffins despite the continuous rise of transport and raw materials. We want to help people and that is why we sometimes have to negotiate prices but we charge coffins for as low as $150. We have had people bringing sample pictures or ideas of what they expect and we meet their needs by providing the best we can at an affordable price,” said Mr Beaver Mpumelelo Dube, who operates at Mashumba in Bulawayo’s Mzilikazi suburb.
Funeral parlours said they had to adjust prices as cost of business has gone up. Some are now demanding premiums in foreign currency.
“The cost of living on its own has become unaffordable with the salary people earn, it is hard to make ends meet. Factors of the service like fuel, coffin and groceries prices keep rising on a daily basis and opting for imports becomes costly. A standard coffin increased by 200 percent, from RTGS$100 it now costs RTGS$300. Products are easily obtained in foreign currency that is unattainable hence the idea of pegging our premiums in USD to ensure quality, affordable and effective services to our clients,” said Genesis Funeral Parlour manager Miss Chipo Marara.
Doves funeral company southern regional manager Mr Kudzai Nyika confirmed that the company has increased premiums by 100 percent to meet the costs.
“The cost of funeral package products sky-rocketed to more than 100 percent forcing the review of premiums. Flat top coffins that used to cost RTGS$450 are now RTGS$638 and some coffins are imported increasing costs, hence the hike. Funeral costs have increased from an average of RTGS$1 000 to about RTGS$4 000 making it hard for people to bury their loved ones in their desired ways.
“However, we have introduced the Doves cash funeral bundle that serves the people’s interests rather than letting corpses pile up in mortuaries. This is to ensure that the lower end of the market can afford to give their loved ones a decent send-off,” he said.