Consumer council slams retailers

Consumer council slams retailers
Published: 27 September 2017
THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) yesterday slammed retailers for increasing prices of some basic commodities without justification.In an interview with The Herald, CCZ executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said some retailers had hiked prices, while some goods were disappearing from shelves.

"Pertaining to the current situation, we have done a nationwide check of prices and that is the information we are collecting right now," she said. "We have realised that there are specific products that have disappeared from the shelves, while some products' prices went up within a space of three days. For example, cooking oil, which was $3,18 for a 2 litre bottle is now $4,80 or even $5,30 in some retail outlets.

"We understand chicken has been scarce, but you find that in shops where it is available it is costing as much as $8,60 for the same packet." Ms Siyachitema said fuel prices were also on the rise.

"It is not just food stuffs, as we realised that in Bulawayo there were service stations selling petrol for as much as $1,47 per litre," she said. "Queues have also been long in Harare and other places, leading to increases in prices.

"What we see is that it starts from somewhere then people just copy. We then wonder if retailers ever take into consideration the international prices for those products or it is a situation where everybody just takes advantage of the situation to do whatever they want. This shows some kind of misbehaviour on the retailers' part." Ms Siyachitema said their findings would soon be submitted to relevant authorities.

"With these findings, we are going to engage the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) who will handle the issue," she said. Surface Wilmar, manufacturers of Puredrop cooking oil, have implored retailers to sell their products to consumers at the recommended price.

"Cooking oil has been classified by the RBZ as a basic commodity and, therefore, receives priority on forex allocations," said the firm in a statement. "This should assure our customers and consumers on the continued availability of our products on the shelves. "The current panic buying and hoarding only serves to distort the perceived availability, but we are assured that this in only a short term phenomenon." A survey carried out by The Herald in Harare showed that some retailers had indeed increased prices.
- zimpapers
Tags: CCZ,


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