A lot of retailers have been charging prices well above the stipulated prices for mealie-meal in shops. In a language reminiscent of the 2008 era the government has been calling them and people doing similar things- economic terrorists.
This is despite the fact that the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) themselves have been calling for the government to review their prices and allow them to charge more. GMAZ have cited the higher producer prices that they now have to pay to farmers/GMB and fall of the RTGS $.
The Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson, Mr. Tafadzwa Musarara has announced that the association will be dispatching price monitoring officers this coming Monday. At a joint meeting between retailers and wholesalers, he said that they would stop supplying whoever was found to be selling above stipulated prices.
Bulawayo will have price monitoring officers hovering around on Monday next week (this week) and they will interrogate where they will find unjustified price markups. Retailers who will not comply will face blacklisting.
Due to technological advancements what we are going to do is that we can on daily or weekly basis advise retailers or consumers on the price movements…and do all the necessary consultations with Government.
Will this work?
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Retailers are indeed getting mealie-meal at old prices yet most are selling it at a higher price. This naturally drives inflation which has been on an accelerated upward trend over the past number of months.
However, Delta tried the same tact when retailers increased prices of their drinks even though Delta had not increased their retail price. People were asking for as much as 3 times the recommended price. Now Delta is all but invisible in the soft drink market.
The problem is that due to a lot of government interference a lot of goods are being sold at below market value. This is made worse by the fact that these goods are usually in short supply. This makes it easy for cartels to manipulate their supply and consequently their prices.