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

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By James Muonwa

MOST basic household products are readily available in retail outlets across the country at affordable prices despite fears the introduction of the ZiG currency would result in their disappearance or price hikes, Cabinet ministers heard Tuesday.

Presenting the Second Quarter Update of 2024, covering the period April to June 2024, on the state of basic commodities’ prices and availability, Industry and Commerce Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu told Cabinet there was stability.

During a post-Cabinet briefing, Information Minister Jenfan Muswere told journalists that Ndlovu said despite the normal distribution of goods at affordable prices, the newly-introduced ZiG currency was getting acceptance as a medium of exchange.

“The Second Quarter of 2024 was largely characterised by stability in the prices and availability of basic commodities across all provinces, both in ZiG and USD terms.

“The ZiG currency slightly appreciated in value by 0.51% against the US$ during the period under review, with the tight monetary stance that has been maintained having resulted in exchange rate stability, which has translated into the stability of prices of basic commodities on the market,” said Muswere.

He highlighted that the market is well stocked with mealie-meal and its price has been stable, ranging between ZiG100.01 and ZiG103.8, and between US$5.30 and US$8.50 in United States dollars currency for a 10-kilogramme pack.

Cabinet also heard that the price of a 2-litre bottle of cooking oil has been stable as well, ranging between ZiG54.63 and ZiG56.50, and between US$3.30 and US$4.70 in United States dollars.

“Bread price has also remained stable, ranging between ZiG14 and ZiG14.50, and between US$1 and US$1.20 in United States dollars.

“Sugar supply has relatively improved countrywide and its price has remained stable during May and June 2024.

“The price of laundry soap remained unchanged, ranging between ZiG23.13 and ZiG23.50 in local currency.”

Muswere said the prices of most basic commodities in the formal sector are gradually converging with prices in the informal market, and the prices of some basic commodities, such as cooking oil and mealie meal decreased, in response to the measures put in place to deal with price increases witnessed during the First Quarter of 2024.

“There is improved ZiG uptake in the market, with transactions on Point of Sale (POS) swipe machines seen to be dominant in major formal retail outlets.

“Most outlets have pegged their products in ZiG, while some few still display the prices in United States dollars, although the prices are payable in both currencies. In most retail shops, 80% of the formal retailers’ transactions are currently in ZiG while 20% are in United States dollars,” said the Information Minister.