ZIMBABWEANS have commended the continuing stability in the prices of goods and services in the country.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, both consumers and business leaders said the stabilising prices were affording them the chance to plan ahead — unlike what was obtaining previously.
This comes as Zimbabwe is beginning to enjoy relative economic stability, following the recent implementation of a raft of measures — including the introduction of the foreign currency auction system in June, which has reined in the once rampant forex parallel market.
It also comes as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has said that the current stability in the prices of goods and services in the country would continue into next year.
“The foreign currency auction system is the country’s strategy for its exchange management, and this is here to stay. We are ensuring that consumers, business and investors enjoy its benefits.
“Our plan is to make sure that prices move in line with the auction rate and this is what is already happening. You will be seeing prices coming down further, going into the future,” Mangudya told the Daily News yesterday.
Shoppers who spoke to the Daily News said they were expecting a jolly festive season as a result, as some prices of basic goods were actually coming down in big retail shops.
“We are quite happy that basic goods are slowly becoming affordable, and as you can see, two litres of cooking oil that used to cost US$3 is now down to US$2,50.
“The same thing applies to rice which now ranges between US$1,50 and US$1,60. This is a positive development which we hope will continue so that we will be able to enjoy Christmas in a very long time,” Harare shopper Takura Chiwetu said.
Another shopper, Comfort Zhou, said the stability in prices had made it possible for Zimbabweans to plan ahead.
“At least now we can budget to buy basics in the knowledge that when we come back nothing will have changed in terms of the prices.
“We have not reached a point where we can say all is well, but what is currently obtaining is encouraging,” Zhou told the Daily News.
On her part, Mejury Tavaguta said while the prices of basic goods were now predictable, the biggest challenge facing the majority of citizens was their low disposable incomes.
“I am a civil servant, but I cannot afford to buy the basic goods although the prices are reasonable.
“There has been stability for the past few months and we call on the government to consider reviewing our salaries so that we also benefit from the better economy,” she said.
The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Henry Ruzvidzo, said the predictable operating environment had allowed companies to focus on efficiencies and growth.
“Availability of foreign currency through formal channels has been consistent during the past three months.
“This has built confidence and has resulted in less aggressive pricing models,” he said.
The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), Denford Mutashu, said the current “good spell” was likely to continue as industry was now ramping up production.
“The development has seen improved production and subsequently an oversupply of goods against low demand. The principle of supply and demand dictates that prices will naturally go down.
“We are hoping for further improvements in prices as borders open, with more goods coming in to compete with local products.
“This must be sustained by a robust export strategy hinged on import substitution and this can be achieved by capacitating local production,” Mutashu told the Daily News.