Basic commodities prices increase

HARARE - Consumers in Zimbabwe are facing the harsh effects of the recent increase on fuel excise duty as prices of some basic commodities shoot up.

Most prices of commodities such as sugar, mealie-meal, cooking oil and meat have gone up by more than 30 percent following Finance minister Tendai Biti’s announcement that duty fuel had been increased to fund the forthcoming general election.

Though retailers are saying the increase in fuel prices are behind the price increases, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said the percentage increase in food stuffs is unjustifiable.

“We will really know of the impact of the fuel hike on the food basket at the end of the month but the margin increase we are witnessing now on commodities is too high,” CCZ director Rosemary Siyachitema said.

“We know the South African rand is weakening and because we are using the stronger US dollar it means the imported products should be cheaper, but that is not what is prevailing. There is no real relationship in these increases,” said Siyachitema.

Siyachitema said retailers are taking advantage of consumers.

Biti earlier this month increased excise duty on fuel by between 20 and 25 percent to raise money for elections.

A survey by the Daily News showed that a 10 kg bag of mealie meal went up from around $4 to between $5 and $7.

Ration meat prices increased from $4 to $6 per kg. - Bridget Mananavire

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