Pride Mahlangu, Business Reporter
RETAILERS, who stand accused of profiteering, have attributed the relentless price increases to currency instability and the rising cost of doing business.
In an interview, Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Mr Denford Mutashu, said the inflationary environment, which saw local currency trading at 1:20 to the US dollar last week before dropping to 1:14 this week, has led to a general rise in the cost of doing business, forcing their members to seek cushion in price adjustments.
“It will be folly for us to focus on prices that we see in the shops without addressing the fundamental challenges that are actually pushing the pricing models to be unstable and one of them is the issue of general cost of doing business,” he said.
“The cost of doing business has been going up and this has been exacerbated by quite a number of challenges. Many retailers were forced to buy generators so that they remain open even when there is no electricity and operating on a generator is very expensive. These are some of additional costs that businesses have to contend with as they grapple with price changes from manufacturers.”
Mr Mutashu denied that retailers were profiteering saying the operating environment was very difficult for retailers whose profit margins were constantly being eroded by price changes.
He said collective efforts were needed to address the macro-economic fundamentals and bring the desired stability and market confidence.
Mr Mutashu said businesses expect Government to release inflation information in time to avoid speculation which creates anxiety and unpredictability.
His response follows public outcry over the spate of price increases, which have pushed the cost of living beyond the reach of many. Reduced purchasing power has resulted in sharp drop in demand for goods and services thereby threatening jobs and the viability of local industry. — @pridesinstinctz