GMAZ Price Monitoring Report Due This Week

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) will by end of this week issue its findings on the price trends of basic commodities in major cities, while it threatens to cut supplies to those found charging beyond stipulated prices, 263Chat Business has established.

The millers representative body, has been at loggerheads with retailers of basic food stuffs such as maize-meal, rice, flour and salt over wanton price increases and  a team dispatched a fortnight ago is expected to finalize, compile and publish its findings by Friday.

“What we are doing is that we are consolidating their reports and then we issue a comprehensive statement by Friday. We haven’t synthesized their findings on the market so we expect that by the end of this week,” GMAZ spokesperson, Garikai Chaunza said in an interview.

So far the price monitors have been assessing prices of rice, maize meal, salt, and other cereals in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare and the exercise is expected to spread to Masvingo next week.

“We should have a comprehensive report for Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare but on Thursday we are in Masvingo were we are deploying another group there. This is the second week now since we began this exercise,” he added.

Prices of commodities shot up beginning of the year following a supply glitch on the market as foreign currency shortages crippled settlement of external payments to suppliers on time, but following an improvement in foreign currency allocation to GMAZ, prices were expected to normalize as supplies improved.

However, most retail outlets have since continued to inflate prices of basic food stuffs as they now base their RTGS dollar prices to the USD at prevailing parallel market exchange rates.

Last week GMAZ released a price catalogue for food stuffs it supplies to retailers with a maximum cap on retail prices and if these are not adhered to, the association has threatened to cut the retailers off further supplies.

Among a range of prices, a 10 kg and 5 kg pack of maize meal has been set at RTGS$ 16.24 and RTGS$ 9.60, 10 kg, respectively, while a 2 kg pack of flour pegged at RTGS$ 14.72.

A snap survey by this publication indicated that most major retail outlets were charging within the stipulated price range while minor retailers and tuck-shops in the CBD were charging slightly higher prices.

Meanwhile the government has set aside $ 70 million for the provision of people’s shop, a move meant to mitigate price craze on the market but analysts have warned of massive economic reparations once the government starts to put controls in the market.