Prices of some basic goods on shelves in formal shops countrywide are marginally declining as several retailers have started refusing supplies of goods with inflated prices or charges.
Residents in areas around the country have expressed relief in the rapid decrease of prices by 15-25 percent all over Zimbabwe.
Snap surveys conducted by ZBC News in some of the major retail outlets in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Masvingo, Mutare and Chinhoyi showed consistent decrease of prices as well as availability of basic commodities such as Mazoe Orange Crush, cooking oil, mealie meal, rice, sanitary wear, flour and the availability of bread.
Major shop owners said they have been observing the fluctuating prices in the recent weeks, leading to the recent price plunge by 15 percent.
Liquor Hub Manager, Mr Stanford Mazura said several basic commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, flour, rice and mealie-meal have gone down.
“We have seen prices coming down from our suppliers. In turn, prices have also reduced at retail level and are stabilising. This is encouraging as we can safely say basics have gone down by a confirmed 15 percent margin,” said Mr Mazura.
Retail outlets have started reviewing downwards some basic commodities such as mealie-meal, sugar, meat products and rice in response to scrapping of the multi-currency system by the government.
A two litre Mazoe Orange Crush is now pegged at $18.99 down from $23.99 while a 10kg bag of roller meal is now selling at around ZW$16.90 from an average of $20.
Stewing beef was averaging $26 from an average of $28 per kg.
At one of the supermarkets in-store bread was pegged at $3.40 per loaf compared to other brands which were selling at around $4.20 per loaf.
There was also a minor adjustment on prices of rice, with two kg rice selling at an average of $16.99 compared to $18.99, just a few days ago.
Consumers who described the previous price hikes by the retailers as unjustified said they welcome the adjustments, with some calling for a further downward review of the prices.
“We commended some of the retailers who have taken a noble decision to review downwards prices of basic commodity and it is our hope that prices will continue on a downward trend,” said one of the consumers.
While some of the major retailers had reviewed prices of the basic commodities, most of the informal retailers are still to adjust their prices, with some businesses around the resort town transacting in foreign currency in defiance of the law as prices of goods and services are expected to remain on a downward trend in response to the gazetting of (SI) 142 of 2019, which outlawed the use of the multi-currency system.
Variously, major stores in the central business district revealed that some notable prices of basic commodities have started going down.
For instance, a leading retail outlet has reduced the price of flour to $14.49 from $29.10, an indication that some retailers have slashed prices.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Masvingo Chapter’s regional officer, Mr Ndumiso Mgutshini said the organisation carries out price inspections every Monday and Wednesday, highlighting that while prices are beginning to go down, they have noticed that some of the retailers who had reduced prices last Wednesday, have since hiked the prices of the same goods as of this Monday.
“As we were doing our survey this week we noticed that the prices of goods which had been slashed down last week Wednesday were hiked once more today,” he said.
Prices of some of the basic commodities in the area have notably decreased but consumers are hopeful the prices will be reduced even further to affordable levels.
Residents said some commodities such as 2kg flour that was $18 is now $14.95 in some shops while Mazoe Orange Crush that was over $25 is now pegged at $16 to $21 with cooking oil and bread prices being reduced among other commodities.
The residents said they expect the trend on reduction of prices to continue and include all commodities.
Mutare residents condemned the spirit of profiteering by some business owners who are failing to adjust their prices in line with the current economic stability that started following the end of the multi-currency regime.
Major retail supermarkets and some medium size grocery shops indicated a drop in commodity prices by as much as 25 percent.
For instance, a 2litre bottle of orange juice which previously cost as much as $21 is now going for $16.80 in one of the major retail outlets.
Sugar is pegged at between $9 and $10.
The price of rice and cooking oil has also gone down significantly.
Some small shops in the town have even lowered prices for selected commodities compared to supermarkets.
The lowering of prices by retailers comes after the government’s warning to businesses to desist from tendencies of profiteering that have seen prices of several goods and services being sold beyond the reach of many.