Monday, 22 October 2018

BREAD PRICE WAR LOOMS


A STORM is brewing between the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) and the National Bakers’ Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) after the latter proposed to hike the price of bread from $1,50 to about $5 starting this week to cushion bakers against increasing production costs.

NBAZ president Ngoni Mazango last week warned of a massive increase in the price of bread, citing high production costs and foreign currency shortages.

He said the current production cost ranged from US$1 to US$1,10 per loaf, which is equivalent to between $4 and $5 bond on the parallel market, implying that if there is no immediate intervention to avail foreign currency, the retail price of one loaf would be over $5 bond.

“I want to make this clear. This is not the price of bread, but this is the cost that we meet when manufacturing the bread. As I said, we are still in engaging the authorities for us to receive enough money that will be able to get us the raw materials we need and also pay the arrears we owe to our suppliers. As we stand right now, we have arrears with our suppliers and they have said that they will not supply us with anything until we clear those arrears,” Mazango said.

But CZR president Denford Mutashu yesterday accused Mazango of being alarmist, saying government was doing everything in its power to normalise the situation.

“It is important to for us to remain calm and not cause alarm in the minds of the consumers. No one can just wake up and increase the prices of these commodities,” he said.

“Consultation and dialogue should be done before a decision is made. It is not good to scare the market, but rather there should be dialogue in which these issues are raised and are deliberated on. Prices [of commodities] like bread, sugar and maize meal cannot be increased just like that.” Newsday

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