Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni has been in key consultations with business players to ensure price stability during the festive season following an increase in prices of some basic commodities in the past few days.
Minister Nyoni yesterday met relevant business organisations to discuss prices and the market supply of basic commodities this festive season.
Among those in attendance at the meeting were the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe, the National Bakers Association, the Oil Expressors Association of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Retailers Association, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers, the Zimbabwe Sugar Sales and the Zimbabwe Sugar Association.
Minister Nyoni said his Ministry had observed an emerging trend of increasing prices during the festive season.
“As we all know, traditionally the holiday season is a period with hyper activities where businesses the world over stock up with various goods in anticipation of increased spending as consumers buy gifts for their loved ones,” she said.
“As a Ministry, we observed an emerging trend of increases in the prices of basic commodities during this week, wherein laundry soap has gone up 16 percent, cooking oil by 13 percent, bread by 12 percent and mealie-meal by 9 percent.
“It was pleasing to note that the price of sugar has remained constant. As the ministry responsible for commerce and Industry, we have the onus to get to the bottom of this and nip any negative developments in the bud.
“We have witnessed and enjoyed price stability for a very long time now, ever since Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe instituted a tight monetary control regime and this must be maintained to promote consumer welfare.
“By the same token, we also witnessed and enjoyed a normal supply of basic commodities on the market, with no shortages and crises, as previously happened in the yesteryears.”
Dr Nyoni was grateful to businesses that had joined hands with the Ministry to ensure that they did not allow any price increases.
She said the business community should trade fairly and desist from profiteering and from creating artificial shortages.
“I am very happy to report that I had a very fruitful dialogue with the business member organisations to whom I am grateful for their quick response,” Minister Nyoni said.
“Ever since I took office as Minister of Industry and Commerce, I have enjoyed a very good and progressive working relationship with the respective business member organisations in both the industry and commerce sectors. Let me assure the nation that industry has enough stocks of basic commodities and that business will immediately work on modalities to ensure that there will not be any sharp price increases.”