The government and business leaders have agreed that prices of basic foodstuffs – including maize-meal, rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, flour and bread — will revert to the levels of March 25, just before the lockdown.
This was announced by Vice President Kembo Mohadi at a press briefing at Munhumutapa Offices on Wednesday in the presence of the leaders of the involved business organisations. VP Mohadi said:
There was a general agreement among the multi-sectoral partners that the price increase, particularly during the lockdown, was speculative and unjustified.
The multi-sectoral stakeholders committed to a price moratorium to operate based on the prices, which were applicable on March 25.
The moratorium will also apply to all value chain players. This was supported by Cabinet decision of April 21, 2020, and will take effect immediately.
The rising exchange rates have been cited as the major driver of price increases and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe fixed the interbank exchange rate at $25 to US$1 for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
Since for the time being there are no further rate changes, the extra price rises put in by producers in expectation of further rises in the exchange rate will be slashed.