ZIMBABWE – The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has applied to the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) seeking to be allowed to set the prices products under their purview rather than have it done by a government-appointed body.
According to NewsDay, GMAZ seeks the responsibility saying that the pricing of situation does protect consumers from unscrupulous market forces.
“The impact of the pricing of our products to the national inflation basket computation is significant, as they are necessities that every citizen has an inalienable constitutional right to their access and consumption.
The absence of a collective price review (mechanisms) will result in unrestrained price hikes, creation of serious and severe inflationary pressures, food insecurity and subsequently, social unrest,” said GMAZ in the application.
GMAZ is a lobby group representing interests of major industrial players across the entire grain sector including of flour producers.
“The government makes subsidy interventions to stabilise the prices of maize meal and flour (by extension bread). In order to ensure that these subsidies benefit end consumers.
It is imperative that the manufacturers collectively review their cost drivers and align their margins so that the final retail prices are not subjected to the vices of profiteering, especially in times of scarcity,” the association stated.
The association has also established a finance and costing technical committee to oversee the pricing of members’ products.
In the recent past, Zimbabwe grain industry has been grappling with challenges especially due to forex shortages which has translated into insufficiency of grains to satisfy the demand.
This has had an adverse effect on the prices of grains and grain products especially wheat products which has pushed the retail prices of bread to a high of US$2.5.
In September last year, several milling companies in Zimbabwe were compelled to suspend operations for several weeks after the government delayed in releasing forex for wheat held up in Mozambique.
Millers are also facing problems in addressing the rising demand attributed to changing dietary requirements.
The government has however embarked on restructuring the country’s economy after Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency is 2009 to use US dollar among other currencies.