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Basic commodities available at affordable prices due to tight monetary stance — Cabinet report

Mangaliso Ndlovu
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HARARE – Cabinet briefing reveals that basic household products are widely available across retail outlets in Zimbabwe at affordable prices, dispelling concerns that the introduction of the ZiG currency would lead to shortages or price hikes.

This was confirmed during the presentation of the Second Quarter Update for 2024, covering April to June, by Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu.

During a post-Cabinet briefing, Information Minister Jenfan Muswere informed journalists that Ndlovu reported a stable market for basic commodities. Despite initial fears, the newly introduced ZiG currency is gaining acceptance as a medium of exchange.

“The Second Quarter of 2024 was largely characterized by stability in the prices and availability of basic commodities across all provinces, both in ZiG and USD terms,” Muswere stated. He noted that the ZiG currency appreciated slightly by 0.51% against the US dollar during the reviewed period. The tight monetary stance has resulted in exchange rate stability, translating into stable prices for basic goods.

Muswere highlighted specific examples of price stability in essential commodities. Mealie-meal prices have remained steady, ranging between ZiG100.01 and ZiG103.8, and between $5.30 and $8.50 for a 10-kilogram pack in USD terms. Similarly, the price of a 2-litre bottle of cooking oil has been stable, ranging between ZiG54.63 and ZiG56.50, and $3.30 to $4.70 in USD.

Bread prices have also remained consistent, ranging from ZiG14 to ZiG14.50, and $1 to $1.20 in USD. Sugar supply has improved countrywide, maintaining stable prices during May and June 2024. Laundry soap prices remained unchanged, ranging between ZiG23.13 and ZiG23.50.

Muswere noted that the prices of most basic commodities in the formal sector are gradually aligning with those in the informal market. Prices for some items, like cooking oil and mealie-meal, have decreased due to measures addressing the price increases seen in the First Quarter of 2024.

“There is improved ZiG uptake in the market, with transactions on Point of Sale (POS) swipe machines being dominant in major formal retail outlets,” Muswere said. Most retail outlets have priced their products in ZiG, although some continue to display prices in USD, with transactions accepted in both currencies. In many retail shops, 80% of formal transactions are currently conducted in ZiG, while 20% are in USD.

The Cabinet’s report indicates a positive reception of the ZiG currency and stability in the market for basic household goods. This stability is a reassuring development for consumers and highlights the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the government to control prices and ensure the availability of essential commodities. The acceptance and integration of the ZiG currency into the economy appear to be progressing smoothly, contributing to an overall stable economic environment.