Zimbabwean government acts on rising food prices as consumers feel pinch
Zimbabwean government acts on rising food prices as consumers feel pinch

Zimbabwean consumers are feeling the pinch of rising prices for basic commodities, with prices now being reviewed on an almost weekly basis.

While U.S. dollar prices are generally stable, consumers who use local currency to purchase their daily needs have been forced to revise their budgets continuously and at times have to forgo some items they would have intended to buy.

Cecilia Mutandwa, a mother of two, said the situation is getting out of control, and she could no longer afford to buy all the required basic commodities because of soaring prices.

"It is embarrassing getting to the till point and having to remove some of the items I would have planned to buy because of inadequate funds. It is no longer easy to budget because the prices are changing as soon as you leave the shop," she lamented.

The government has noted the skyrocketing prices and on Tuesday announced the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the causes of the price hikes.

Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-cabinet meeting media briefing that the cabinet has discussed at length the price and basic food supply situation following a brief on the matter by Minister of Industry and Commerce Sekai Nzenza.

"The nation is being informed that Cabinet is concerned about the spiraling prices of the 14 basic goods, especially bread, flour, cooking oil, and mealie-meal. The minister of industry and commerce is already engaging the concerned stakeholders, including manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and other associations on the matter.

"Given the urgency of the matter, Cabinet has set up a committee to quickly investigate, monitor and make appropriate recommendations to Cabinet with a view to bringing sanity to the situation," she said.

The committee comprises the ministers of industry and commerce, finance and economic development, as well as information communication technology, postal and courier services.

"Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that corrective measures will be taken in order to protect the public," Mutsvangwa added.

Economists have blamed the rising prices on the black market, where the U.S. dollar is trading at a much higher rate than the official exchange rate.

Lack of access to the cheaper foreign currency provided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through a weekly auction pushes some producers to opt for the parallel market and then shove the cost down to consumers.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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