The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has urged relevant authorities to make affordable and avail sanitisers and soap as basic commodities to reduce the spread of the deadly Covid-19.
Alcohol-based hand sanitiser, which contains at least 60 percent alcohol was considered a helpful measure in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, sales of hand sanitisers have soared and it became a highly sought-after product that pharmacies and supermarkets have started limiting the number of products that people can buy at once.
Prices of basic commodities, including sanitisers have shot up, making the food basket unaffordable to many Zimbabweans.
CCZ executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said hand sanitisers and soaps must be prioritised as basic commodities.
"As you know the prices have been rising, the consumer basket has been going up and the prices of basic goods have been rising. What we consider now as important are hand sanitisers and soaps hence we want consumers to afford those goods," she said.
Meanwhile, prices of basic commodities have increased by up to almost 100 percent this week thereby pushing the prices beyond the reach of most consumers.
Shops, including big supermarkets, have increased prices of basic goods such as bread, maize-meal, cooking oil, meat, rice and vegetables among others.
A snap survey carried out by The Herald yesterday revealed that prices of basic commodities have increased by almost 100 percent.
A two-litre bottle of cooking oil, which was selling at around $79 has increased to $114.
The price of a 10kg bag of mealie-meal has been increased from $130 to about 262,99 while the price of a standard loaf of bread has also gone up from $24,99 to $26,99 and Bakers Inn is selling at $30,50.
A kilogramme of salt now costs $25,99 and the price of a litre of milk has increased from $25,99 to $34,99 while that of a packet of 2kg rice has increased from $48,99 to $93,99.
A 2kg packet of chicken cuts is now selling for between $232,99 and $184 depending with the brand, while the price of a kg of beef is now pegged at $175,99 or more depending on the quality.
Consumers in Harare on Monday said that prices of most basic commodities were no longer affordable.
Mr Takudzwa Chara, a taxi driver, said the prices were not commensurate with the levels of salaries people were earning.
If this trend of price increases is not controlled, people will fail to feed their families. People are already struggling to put food on the table and something must be done urgently to rein in retailers. Food is there in the shops but people cannot afford the prices," he said.
Ms Mercy Mushava, a civil servant, said most workers' salaries were no longer enough to buy just the basics, making it pointless to go to work.
"The prices we are seeing in these shops are frustrating given our meagre salaries," she said.
Mrs Mushava said it was time Government put in place measures to control prices especially of basic commodities that people cannot do without.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said the increases were necessitated by some suppliers who were now demanding cash on delivery.
"The increases are suffocating the consumers who are hapless under the current situation.
"It is, however, a chicken and egg situation as suppliers have been increasing prices into the sector at a faster pace, citing rising costs.
"Some suppliers are demanding payment in cash or United States dollars, which pushes sector players to the parallel market," Mr Mutashu has said.