Govt Sees Sabotage Over Speculative Pricing
17 May 2023
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Government has accused retailers of sabotaging the economy through speculative pricing and hiding goods from shop shelves.

In a post-Cabinet Press briefing, Information and Broadcasting minister Monica Mutsvangwa last night said the prevailing shortages of basic goods in retail shops was artificial.

“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,” she said.

She added that prices of basics in the formal retail sector were relatively high in both United States dollars and local currency compared to the informal market.

“This is an indication of speculative forward pricing. Consumers are being forced to buy goods that they don’t need in formal retail outlets which are refusing to mix the United States dollar transactions with Zimbabwean dollars,”she said.

“To address this the nation is being assured that the Quality Assurance and Trade Measures Department in the Industry and Commerce ministry is conducting an enforcement grip on the quality and measurements of basic commodities and issuing appropriate fines.”

Government last week lifted import duty on basic goods to get back at ‘profiteering’ retailers.

Mutsvangwa said the import duty will remain suspended for the next six months.

Prices of basic commodities have skyrocketed beyond the reach of many citizens, especially those earning in local currency that has been on a free-fall since late last year.