THERE has been a steady increase in the prices of some basic commodities over the last few weeks in supermarkets as manufacturers and importers push up wholesale prices, sometimes by switching to black-market exchange rates for imported materials.
A look around leading supermarkets Pick n Pay, Food World and OK Zimbabwe found a uniform general hike in prices first of imported goods and then of local products that started with demand increasing towards the opening of schools.
While retailers tend to get the flak when prices rise, major supermarkets in their highly competitive environment work on fixed percentage mark-ups for each type of product and so prices rise when new stock arrives at a higher price. Price rises are generated by suppliers.
Among basic commodities that are rising in price are mealie-meal, rice, cooking oil, flour and laundry soap. The price of a 2-litre cooking oil went up from $799,99 to $849,99 while mealie-meal went up from $729,99 for a 10kg bag to $879,99.
A 2kg packet of rice price went up from $394,99 to $489,99 while 2kg flour went up from $320,60 to $421,65. A bar of laundry soap rose from $409,99 to $464,99.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said business operators have to ethically price goods and services in line with national income realities.
“While we note with concern the ongoing doing business challenges and efforts to improve the environment, it’s quite disheartening that prices have increased at a much faster rate than incomes, causing further dent on consumer pockets,” he said. “It is unethical to punish consumers who are forced to absorb the economic pressures.” Herald.