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Retailers stick to recommended prices for basics

Most retailers in Bulawayo are charging the recommended prices for most basic goods, a recent survey has revealed.

Price monitors deployed by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe yesterday went around most retailers checking if they were complying with the recommended prices.

The price monitors are monitoring only five main basic commodities – roller mealie meal, self-raising flour, salt, value rice and sugar beans.

The recommended retail price for 10 kg mealie meal is RTGS$18.35, 2kg self-raising flour is RTGS$14.72, 2kg salt RTGS$4.80 while 2kg of value rice is RTGS$13.68.

Price monitors noted most of the retail shops were charging basic commodities at the recommended prices, with few discrepancies as some overcharged by 30 cents, while daring ones marked up prices by almost RTGS$1.

But consumers say even the recommended retail prices are way above their reach while supermarkets hike other goods all the time.

They have once again called on authorities to also monitor other goods as well such as cooking oil, bread and meat plus act on the price hike madness as it did not match what income they made.

GMAZ’s Ethics and Compliance Committee Chairperson, Alvin Mparutsa, said the price monitors intended to achieve was to avoid price distortions and profiteering by retailers.

“The objective today was to engage retailers who are selling our products and consumers taking the products. What we have agreed with retailers through the Confederations of Zimbabwe Retailers is that there must be a certain mark up on products that we produce, so we are there in there in the market monitoring to see what we agreed upon is being done,” he said.

Mparutsa highlighted that price monitoring was a nationwide programme and they had between 150 to 200 monitors going round the country.

“This is an ongoing programme but we have already covered Harare, Masvingo, Mutare, Matabeleland even in rural areas, places such as Zaka, Lupane and Zvishavane. If retailers don’t agree and are over charging prices we will go back to our agreement, talk to the retailers association to ask their members to comply.”

The chairperson added that those retailers who failed to comply would have their supplies withdrawn by millers.

“We are quite happy with what we have seen in the shops so far, here and there we have discrepancies. After this monitoring exercise we will then compile a report, once that report is done, we will note areas where we think we have issues with then go back to retailers. This report would be made available,” Mparutsa said.

Besides the retailers association, GMAZ is also working with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe to assist in the initiative.

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