Bakers have said a recent spike in the prices of bread is attributed to the recent increase in utility charges and fuel prices which have a direct impact on production and distribution costs.
Chronicle conducted a snap survey which observed that retailers in Bulawayo have increased the price of a standard loaf from $88 to $94.
National Bakers Association of Zimbabwe (NBAZ) president Mr. Dennis Wallah told Chronicle that there was a direct relationship between production and distribution costs and utility charges and fuel price. Wallah said:
Its not a hidden fact that if you look at the price of fuel it went up, so obviously distribution cost goes up.
And also utilities have moved astronomically high obviously all these factors result in the cost of product spiraling upwards.
Of late, utility charges have risen significantly and in some instances by margins above 300 percent in cases such as water bills.
In addition, since the beginning of the year, the price of fuel has been increased twice with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) attributing the upward review of fuel price to a general rise in prices of fuel on the International market.
In a separate interview, the National Consumer Rights Association spokesperson Mr. Effie Ncube said from a consumer perspective there is no justification in increasing the price of bread. He said:
From a consumer standpoint, there is absolutely no justification whatsoever for the rise on the price of bread.
Fuel and other utilities dominate the price of services and goods downstream, but there is no justification to the mark-ups that they did even taking that into account.
They need to develop to a business model that allows them as businesses to function and prosper without constantly rising prices like what they are doing.
There still has no justification for the mark-up rates that they are putting in order to respond to changes in the supply chain.
Ncube’s remarks echo those of the government that has often accused some businesses of profiteering at the expense of the general populace.
In response, businesses have been arguing that their prices are reasonable considering the environment they are operating in adding that they risk closure if they fail to adjust their prices accordingly.