By Audience Mutema
THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has deployed price monitors nationwide to find out if retailers were adhering to prices agreed in the millers group’s Memorandum of Agreement with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) recently.
During a Wednesday tour at some retail shops in Harare’s Budiriro and Glen View suburbs, GMAZ Media and Public Relations Manager Garikai Chaunza said they have hired 150 price monitors to undertake the process.
“GMAZ has deployed 150 price monitors nationwide. The reason behind the deployment is because of price distortions around the country.
“Recently, we signed a memorandum with CZR where we consented to certain prices for mealie meal, rice, flour and salt.
“So we are monitoring if the retailers are adhering to the agreed retail prices. We are going to take measures on whosoever is responsible for the price distortions of the four products in the country. If the wholesalers and millers are overpricing, we will terminate our contracts with them.
“CZR and GMAZ have agreed that retailers must add 10% mark-up plus 2% tax to make it 12% and for flour, it’s 20% that they are supposed to add. We will not supply them with our products.”
Chaunza added, “For now, we have deployed price monitors in Mutare, Harare and Bulawayo. We are still to deploy others in Masvingo and Gweru probably by the end of this week.”
One retailer who identified himself as Magure said GMAZ must intervene and phase out middle men he accused as being some of the drivers of high prices.
He said some retailers were not selling mealie meal, flour and rice even when they had them in their stocks as they feared running into losses if they sold them at prescribed prices.
“Goods are very expensive at wholesalers…for example, we purchase our goods from Gain and N.Richard, and Gain charges its goods in US dollars which makes it difficult for us to price our goods since we are forced to charge goods equivalent to the exchange rate in order for us to make profit.
“We plead with GMAZ to consider selling its goods to us directly rather than use middlemen channels because they are selling these products at very expensive prices, whilst we are disadvantaged….” said Magura.
He said they would rather consider closing their tuckshops than sell the products at prices that will result in them incurring losses.
According to the Memorandum of Agreement between GMAZ and CRZ, a 5kg bag of roller meal, the maximum wholesale price was pegged at RTGS$8.50 and retail price at RTGS$9.80.
A 2kg packet of salt was pegged at a wholesale price of $4.24 (retail $4.80), Rice 2kg $11.65 (retail $13.98), 2kg flour $12.27 (retail $14.72).