Interventions by the government to normalise the supply of goods especially fuel and basic commodities are bearing fruit as fuel queues have disappeared with supermarkets shelves filled to the brim and prices now normalising.
A brief spell of empty supermarket shelves and dry fuel service stations plunged the country’s citizens into a panic mode after some monetary and fiscal interventions by the government last month.
The government moved in to quickly normalise the situation and there has been a gradual increase in the supply of goods especially basic commodities such as cooking oil, rice, beverages and other essential goods at their normal prices.
Long winding queues characterised almost all service stations countrywide but the ZBC News crew saw a significant improvement as some service stations even had no cars to fuel.
The Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Cde Energy Mutodi said the government has put in place a long term solution to the fuel problems.
“We have put in place measures to guarantee the supply of fuel into the country for at least the next five years. So let me reassure the nation that we are not going to see any disturbances in the supply of fuel because the government has given money in advance to fuel companies so it is only left to the economy to run smoothly,” he noted.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube revealed last week that the government has started to draw down on the US$250 million facility agreed with Germcorp.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr john Mangudya also assured the nation at a pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo that the apex bank is upscaling the efficient allocation of foreign currency to key economic sectors to ensure the constant availability of goods and services in the country.
Beer price back to normal
Beer price which had more than doubled over the past weeks has normalised, while charges for other beverages have also significantly come down.
A pint of beer had shot up to $5 owing to panic buying which rocked the country recently.
At most popular liquor centers in and around the capital, beer drinkers are now buying their alcoholics at $1 per pint while a quart is back at $1.50.
Of major interest is that beer and other beverages which were hard to come by during the panic buying era are now readily available.
Prices of soft drinks which had doubled have equally reduced with a 300ml bottle of coke now pegged between 60 and 75 cents down from between $1.50 and $2.
The flip side
Rural folks in Chikombedzi are crying foul over arbitrary price hikes of basic commodities and other social services as errant business people and fuel dealers continue to take advantage of them by demanding payment in form of US dollars and the South African rand.
Despite the government’s warning against increasing prices of basic commodities and fuel, rural folks continue to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous business persons who are inflating prices wantonly.
A visit to Chikombedzi area met with residents who said the unjustified prices are even found on sugar which is produced in their district while most payments are being demanded in forex.
Farmers and motorists have also fallen prey to illicit fuel dealers who are selling petrol at $20 for 2 litres while diesel is going for $15 per 2 litres.
Chikombedzi residents are hoping government will intervene and ease their plight.