18 December 2017

Zimbabwe: Government Orders a Stop to Bread Price Hike

Photo: The Herald
(file photo)

Barely two days after President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned retailers against profiteering, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha has ordered bakers to revert to old bread prices with effect from this Tuesday.

In his address at the Zanu PF Congress last Friday, President Mnangagwa said "the time of profiteering is over."

Bimha met with the industry stakeholders on Monday to and resolve the issues affecting the bakers' industry.

Monday's stakeholders meeting was meant to discuss bread price increase which took place last week. The average price of bread went up by at least a 10c on Saturday.

Bimha, during a press conference held after the stakeholders meeting, told journalists the increases were done without proper consultations hence the need for the dialogue to map the way forward.

"Last Saturday, price of bread was hiked without consultations with our ministry. We called all stakeholders involved in the bread making industry that include the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry, Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe and we resolved that bread prices revert back to their original prices," said the minister.

"We have referred them (bakers) to the national competitiveness commission where they will air their grievances as well as for the future references pertaining to price increases," Bimha added.

The minister said there were issues in the industry which needed immediate attention and these would be discussed in the upcoming meetings among stakeholders. He also said other commodity prices like that of beef and eggs that shot up a few weeks ago would also be discussed in future meetings.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has welcomed the development.

In an interview with New Zimbabwe, CCZ Director Rosemary Siyachitema said, "I think this is a good move for bread price to be reversed. For consumers to deal with an increase in bread price and other issues that are already there, it would have been a headache to feed kids during this festive season.

"Consultation is a good thing, no one was consulted. And the headache remains for the consumer because they are not only waking up to bread price going up but a lot of other things also in the basket are going up," Siyachitema said.

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