Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) reported that the government placed 16 basic commodities under a pricing and availability monitoring list to normalize macro-economic indicators.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce Mike Bimha said the move is aimed at solving rampant illegal price increases in the country.
“We hope the trend will be solved because it is our duty to protect the nation,” said Bimha on ZBC website.
The commodities under the monitoring list include cooking oil, mealie meal, flour, sugar, rice, salt, chicken, eggs, beef, fresh milk, laundry soap, washing powder, cement, fuel and energy.
Bimha had promised the price controls on basic commodities last month citing the September price hikes as the main cause.
“On September 22 and 23, we experienced hikes on various commodities and not only that, there was also the issue of shortages of goods and as a result, this led to panic-buying and hiking of prices by producers,” said the minister on Newsday.
“One asks who came up with that unofficial message on social media. We are still puzzled and trying to come up with remedies to that effect”
The government blames the social media for the panic buying that led to the increase in the price of goods in September and the Cybercrime and Security Ministry was allegedly formed to monitor internet activities.
Price-monitoring of basic commodities also comes at a time when the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Chief Executive Officer Chris Mugaga said that prices are still high in the country.
The CEO said that comparing with other countries in the region Zimbabwe has prices which are high.
“Generally the prices in Zimbabwe are higher… Prices in Zimbabwe where higher even before the hikes,” said Mugaga.
Bimha said that policies are being implemented to stabilise the prices.
Zimbabwean consumers, who are earning below the poverty datum line in the country have been having a challenge in the pricing of goods as they can increase or decrease at any given time.
The consumers are also facing challenges in the three-tier pricing system on retail outlets which they say is creating budget constraints.