Citizens concerned over recent price hikes

Consumers in Zimbabwe have lamented basic commodity price hikes which have left many without access to food and healthcare services at a time when at least 13.5 million people are currently living below the food poverty line.

The price hikes, coupled with the weakening of the Zimbabwean dollar is tied to the little cheer towards the introduction of the $100 bill amid fears the country could slide back into hyperinflation.

As of Wednesday, the parallel exchange rate normally used by retailers stood at 350 against the US dollar while the official bank rate stood at 165,99.

The change in prices has also forced vendors to resort to charging in forex so as to be able to make tangible profit as the local currency keeps weakening.

Vendors said the Government should come up with radical measures to curb price hikes.

“Prices have been going up slowly but surely its now normal to wake up and discover prices have changed overnight. It’s so stressful and we cannot easily buy basics like mealie meal because prices can change,” said Sabelo Ntini from Mzilikazi.

“Business is also suffering because we are forced to peg our vegetables in forex so that we do not lose. Charging in forex makes it hard for our customers as well because they do not earn in Rand or USD.”

Rachel Ncube from Mpopoma said the prices are likely to affect civil servants to earn peanuts.

“I sell vegetables while my husband is a teacher but his salary cannot sustain us as a family. We can no longer cope with all needs and the Government should intervene. The black. The black-market operators continue gambling with the rate to make more money but we the ordinary people are suffering the consequences and we have no means to survive in Zimbabwe, akusaphileki.

Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya had in reports assured citizens that the higher denomination was one of the ways of improving access to cash to the public, and improving convenience for the transacting public and businesses.

“It’s not going to cause inflation because we are not printing any new money. Individuals and businesses can only access cash based only on what they have in their bank accounts,” he said when the note was launched last month.

The Vice President Constatino Chiwenga, who was guest of honour at the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) International Business Conference in Bulawayo last week said Government has moved in to restore sanity by tackling speculative market behaviour, which was fuelling exchange rate distortions.

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