Bread price increase unwarranted

HARARE - The recent proposed increase in the price of bread by the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) is counterproductive as it cannot be supported.

Bread, apart from sadza, forms part of Zimbabwe’s main staple foods and to make it unaffordable smacks of insincerity by the bakers.

The announcements are also coming at a time when schools will be opening; possibly in two weeks’ time and this will further put a strain on household budgets.

We applaud the intervention by government through the minister of Finance in calling for a stop to the intended increase.

Zimbabweans are reeling under the yoke of a collapsing economy.

And public policy and common sense would dictate that everyone treads carefully on increases of basic necessities.

We are disheartened that there are some among us who would take every opportunity even at the snap of a finger to increase prices and in this instance, the Barkers Association of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans can hardly afford three meals a day, let alone bread on the morning table.

Worse still, the kind of bread in circulation does not meet required standards and as for the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), it would be folly for anyone to expect a cough from this toothless bulldog.

According to Finance minister Tendai Biti, inflation is at zero and there is no duty on wheat but only a little on flour to protect local industry.

We say kudos to the government’s announcement and we are fully behind this decree to stop any such sinister moves that seek to play “house” with people’s lives.

The first thing that the National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe needs to do is to monitor its membership so they deliver a product that is commensurate with current prices.

For a dollar, consumers should get a 700 gramme loaf of bread but a cursory look at the kind of loaves doing the rounds across the country will tell a sorry tale notwithstanding its quality.

In as much as we do not advocate for price controls, bread makes up the biggest part of people’s daily meals and any move to unilaterally increase prices is not only unwarranted but borders on total mischief.

We condemn such behaviour that shows little regard for the suffering consumers that NBAZ and its membership’s lives depend on and call on authorities to put their foot down.

It would be a welcome relief if the kind of mitigation shown by Biti were to be seen in all sectors especially transport.

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