Retail prices go ‘haywire’ during festive season

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A FRESH wave of price increases on basic goods and services has dampened the festive mood, stealing the cheer away from the majority of the country’s citizens already struggling to make ends meet.

According to a survey conducted by NewsDay, retailers have hiked prices of basic commodities such as mealie-meal, sugar, cooking oil, rice and sugar, among others, even in United States dollars.

In some retail shops, a 2-litre bottle of cooking oil, which was selling at US$3, now costs US$4,50, while the price of a 2kg pack of rice rose toUS$3,50 from US$2.

The price of a 2-litre bottle of Mazoe Crush rose to US$4,50 from $3, while a bar of washing soap now costs US$1,50 from US$1.

Some schools have also announced intentions to increase fees by up to 100% beginning of next year.

However, government yesterday said it would not impose price controls, but engage business over the price madness.

“Government does not tame prices,” Industry and Commerce minister Sithembiso Nyoni told NewsDay yesterday.

“What we do is we discuss with the business and try to understand why they are hiking prices. – News Day