Kudakwashe Mhundwa and Michael Tome
THE Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding for self-regulatory mechanisms to rein in wanton price increases.
As part of the agreement, GMAZ and CZR said they will deploy a team of 150 people across the country starting Monday to monitor prices of basic products such as salt, flour, rice and mealie-meal to ensure shop owners adhere to agreed prices.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, GMAZ president Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the milling industry has always published recommended prices of mealie-meal, rice, flour and salt, but consumers have remained vulnerable to some unscrupulous retailers who are bent on profiteering.
Mr Musarara said the milling industry had tried to be considerate in terms of costing.
“You may recall that we have also set our recommended prices that are prices quoted by the miller to the wholesaler and to the retailer, which we have dubbed the maximum recommended prices,” he said.
The maize-meal recommended price for the miller is RTGS$10,50 for a 10kg packet while the retail price is RTGS$11,85.
Prices for rice and self-raising floor have also been computed and agreed on.
Mr Musarara said recommending prices on its own is not enough without actually “monitoring the prices, (and) without ensuring compliance and protecting the consumer”.
“We have gone further to introspect and come up with the committee that is going to look at the enforcement or monitoring of these prices nationwide,” he said.
Retailers and wholesalers would be allowed to put a mark-up of between 12 percent and 20 percent, including the 2 percent tax, on their selling price.
Maize-meal and self-raising flour attract a mark-up of 12 percent and 20 percent respectively, including the 2 percent tax.
CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu said the initiative was meant to introduce self-regulation within the value chain without the need for Government intervention.
Mr Mutashu said the mark-the ups stipulated in the MOU were set considering business viability.
The agreement also demands that the supply of the millers’ products be done through formal retail outlets as informal retailers were overpricing in an environment of stagnant salaries and wages.
Mr Mutashu implored other manufacturing sectors to follow the example set by GMAZ and CZR to self-regulate on retail prices of goods they manufacture.