Government has with immediate effect announced a price moratorium which will see prices of basic commodities reverting back to the 25 March 2020 level, 263Chat can report.
Announcing the development, Vice President Kembo Mohadi who is also chairperson for the Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 response said the announcement of the initial 21 day lockdown had seen an increase in prices of basic goods leaving the general public in quandary.
"The Ministry of Industry and Commerce in partnership with the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has been continuously monitoring the food basket cost. When His Excellency, the President E.D Mnangagwa announced the lockdown, prices skyrocketed generating increasing difficulties for the general public to access food items such as bread, sugar, cooking oil, mealie meal and flour," said Mohadi.
He revealed that a survey conducted by the Ministry of Industry showed that the value of the consumer basket in April stood at over ZWL$ 6000 hence they had to come up with the suspension.
"In a survey done by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the value of the consumer basket as at 7 February 2020 was ZWL$ 4 656 but by 11 April 2020 the same amounted to ZWL$ 6, 660.84. In order to address this challenge of escalating prices the Ministry of Industry and Commerce held a multi sectoral meeting with key stakeholders" added Mohadi.
"There was a general agreement amongst the multi-sectoral partners that the price increase particularly during the lockdown was speculative and unjustified. The multi-sectoral stakeholders committed to a price moratorium to operate based on the prices which were applicable on the 25th of March. The moratorium will also apply to all value chain players." Said VP Mohadi
Prices of basic commodities skyrocketed after President Mnangagwa announced the three week lockdown to combat the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting included the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers Association, National Bakers of Zimbabwe, National Foods and Zimbabwe Sugar Sales.