ZIMBABWE – The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has embarked on a countrywide price monitoring initiative that seeks to eradicate unwarranted price increases on major commodities across the retail market in the country.

GMAZ, which constitutes of basic commodities producers such as as maize meal, salt, rice and flour, will engage retailers and wholesalers in the country through the selfregulatory initiative with an aim of promoting responsible pricing.

Mr Alvin Muparutsa, GMAZ head of ethics and compliance committee, said that the millers have also partnered with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers in the joint national price monitoring programme.

“We are jointly undertaking the national price monitoring initiative to curb price distortions and ensure compliance on prices of mealie-meal, rice, salt, sugar beans and flour-related products,” he said.

Earlier this month, GMAZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Confederation of Zimbabwean Retailers and agreed on a model pricing system of basic commodities.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said the monitoring exercise was meant to ensure retailers adhere to normal pricing model principles.

“Basically we are saying that we are promoting a responsible pricing focusing on the four products that we included on the MOU which are key basics like mealie-meal, flour, salt and rice.

We are supporting this initiative to have reasonable cost models that are affordable to the consumers,” he said.

Under the agreement, retailers will charge the normal mark-ups that have always been charged on those products while ensuring they do not take advantage of situations like shortages or engaging in speculative behaviour.

“Traditionally retailers are obliged to put a markup of 10 percent plus two percent being tax on a product, which means for a 10kg bag of maize meal, which we sell to them at US$10.50 it shouldn’t exceed US$11.85,” said Garikai Chaunza, GMAZ and public relations manager.

Mr Mutashu highlighted that there was a need for players along the value chain to exercise fair self-regulatory pricing and desist from tempting Government to interfere on their business in its efforts to protect consumers.

The country has witnessed massive price increases over the past few weeks that have eroded the purchasing power of the general public following unjustifiable pricing models employed by some retailers.