2 July 2014

Tanzania: Effective Price Control Needed in Tanzania

THERE are reports that some unscrupulous traders had hiked prices for beer - both locally produced and imported even when the fiscal year had not yet begun.

Reports have always been rife each year that some businessmen have had the tendency to hoard some items, saying they have run out of stock only to re-stock them after the presentation of the national budget.

There is every reason to believe that the malpractice has involved other goods than beer and spirits, which is reason for the Fair Trade Commission (FCC) or any other body tasked with ensuring effective and efficient price control to spring into action to save Tanzanians from the 'big rip off."

Shoppers across the country would readily testify to encountering differing prices for the same items at the shops, market places and the so-called supermarkets, which have and continue to mushroom in our cities and towns, some of them even being opened in the remote neighbourhoods.

You will find an item say, toothpaste, being sold at 1,500/- in one place but going for 1,800/- or 2,000/- in others. A sachet of detergent at this corner shop in Magomeni, for which you will pay 2,000/-, will carry the price tag of 2,500/- in some downtown supermarket.

This goods' pricing 'free-for-all' scenario has affected almost all other goods in such forms as food, drinks, electronics and ladies, gents and children wear where price inequalities are the unpalatable norm.

The body or bodies responsible for pricing or price control mechanism must get their act right and move to remedy the situation. This 'price free-for-all' situation is detestable at a time when most Tanzanians are already digging deeper into their pockets to access essential items for their daily needs.

It's high time proper checks and controls were effected to save Tanzanians from this overpricing tendency by some unscrupulous traders who are out to make quick riches at the expense of millions of Tanzanians, most of whom are in the low-income bracket group.

Why should they buy a kilo of sugar at 200/- more or maize flour at 100/- more, which is too much for many? Why should one buy a soft drink (soda) for 800/- while he or she could have paid only 600/- in another shop? Let this rot be stemmed to save Tanzanians from further rip-off.

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