Government Accuses Retailers Of Speculative Pricing And Hiding Goods
The government has accused retailers of sabotaging the economy by engaging in speculative pricing and hiding goods from shop shelves.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Monica Mutsvangwa stated in a post-Cabinet press briefing that the current shortages of basic goods in retail shops are artificial. She said:
From the survey taken, most basic commodities are generally available both in formal and informal retail shops although there are artificial shortages which have been observed for some locally-produced goods, especially in formal retail shops.Feedback
According to Senator Mutsvangwa, prices of basic goods in the formal retail sector are relatively high in both USD and local currency compared to the informal market, indicating speculative forward pricing.
She said consumers are being forced to purchase unnecessary goods in formal retail outlets, which are refusing to mix USD transactions with Zimbabwean dollars.
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The Minister also said the Quality Assurance and Trade Measures Department in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is conducting an enforcement operation on the quality and measurements of basic commodities and issuing appropriate fines.
Last week, the government lifted import duty on basic goods to combat “profiteering” retailers, and this suspension will remain in place for the next six months. Basic commodity prices have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many citizens, particularly those earning in local currency, which has been in freefall since late last year.
There are multiple factors contributing to the increase in prices of basic commodities in Zimbabwe. These include high inflation rates, depreciation of the local currency, and shortages of basic commodities such as fuel and electricity, caused by foreign currency shortages, supply chain disruptions, and poor infrastructure.
Some economists attribute the economic crisis to the government’s policies, such as the reintroduction of the local currency, which has lost its value, and the imposition of import duties and high taxes, which have further increased the cost of imported goods.
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