BULAWAYO – Manufacturers yesterday exposed retailers for duping customers by inflating prices despite procuring products from them at unchanged prices.
Yesterday, products such as a 2 litre bottle of cooking oil were being sold for $10 from nearly $4 with some shops limiting quantities that members of the public could buy.
Commodities such as a 2kg of rice went up from an average of $3 to $6. Many hardware shops took delivery of cement yesterday after running dry for most of last week but were strictly selling it at US$10 per 50kg bag or its equivalent in rand.
Some furniture shops have also increased prices by more than 50 percent.
The Chronicle noted that most local food outlets hiked their prices for meals and drinks with fresh chips going for $1.50 from $1. Locally produced Pepsi soft drinks also went up from $0.50 to $1 for a 500ml bottle.
Cooking oil manufacturers slammed retailers for hoarding goods and hiking prices at the expense of consumers.
In a statement yesterday, Pure Drop Refined Soyabean Oil which supplies cooking oil said retailers were bent on profiteering.
“It has come to our attention that our cooking oil brand Pure Drop is being sold in some retail outlets at prices above the recommended retail price of $3.70.
Please be advised that our price for cooking oil has not changed and the current shortages are being worsened by speculators bent on profiteering,’’ read the statement.
United Refineries Limited chief executive officer Mr Busisa Moyo posting on Twitter said for Roil cooking oil the “recommended price is $3.99 straight.”
He said the price did not matter whether one was paying using “swipe, EcoCash or RTGS.”
A snap survey by The Chronicle showed that most big supermarkets in Bulawayo like Choppies and OK did not have cooking oil in stock.
Some customers who spoke to the news crew even came up with theories that shops had removed stocks to create an artificial shortage to increase their prices.
“I came here looking for cooking oil but I was told that the product is in short supply. When l came back in the afternoon l saw a man with a box of cooking.
I asked the manager what’s happening but he ignored me,” said Mr Nothiwani Dhlamini who was shopping at a local supermarket (name supplied).