BACCOSSI ,Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention was an initiative introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to alleviate the acute shortages of goods in supermarkets .It was introduced toward the end of 2007 by Gideon Gono (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor 2003-2013).The goods that came with this programme ,because they were not charged at the black market rates ,were associated with ridiculously low prices given the rates that people had now been accustomed to. Everything that was said or thought to be cheap during this time became labelled as BACCOSSI.
The government of Zimbabwe through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe tried to bring normalcy to the economy through various interventions and BACCOSSI was one of them .The economic situation in the country which had started to deteriorate in the 2000s threatened the livelihoods base of many Zimbabweans as basic commodities became scarce and vanished from the shelves of supermarkets.The scarcity of basic commodities was also fueled by the shortage of foreign currency which was needed to import the goods . Burning Money was adopted informally as a move to assist ordinary citizens as well as companies to import the basics they needed for sustenance .Those who had access to foreign currency went to neighboring countries like South Africa and Botswana to buy basic commodities which they sold at very high prices .Not all people could afford to buy foreign currency on the parallel market hence starvation loomed .This compelled the Government through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to introduce BACCOSSI to help ordinary citizens access basic commodities at a cheaper price.
Scope of the BACCOSSI Initiative
Under the programme households got hampers with basic commodities: 2kg of rice, flour and sugar, a 750ml bottle of cooking oil, a packet of candles, toothpaste, bathing and washing soap, Vaseline, powdered milk and sanitary pads.
Beneficiaries of these hampers would have to part with $100 billion ($10 re-denominated currency) - insufficient to buy a single loaf of bread at that time.
Local traditional leaders such as chiefs and headmen were actively involved in the distribution of these basics, a move which was used to settle political scores.
Politicization of the BACCOSSI intiative
Initiation of the BACCOSI scheme by the Government and involvement of traditional community leaders gave solutions and as well as problems in this period.The ZANU-PF party used the scheme to sustain its support base and gave its supporters more access to the goods that came with the scheme.It was alleged that mostly Zanu-PF officials benefited from the goods meant for the people's shops under the National Basic Commodities Supply Enhancement Programme.
A woman from Mutasa Central constituency in Manicaland province committed suicide on 29 July 2008 after having been denied the right and permission to buy food groceries that were distributed to the rural provinces of Zimbabwe by the ruling Zanu PF government under the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention (Baccossi).
- [ http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/ ], BACOSSI: Only For The Zanu PF Connected , Published: 2 August 2008, Retrieved: 30 August 2017
- [ http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2008/07/a-woman-commits-suicide-over-baccossi-goods/ ], A Woman commits suicide over Baccossi goods , Published: 31 July 2008 , 30 December 2017