Pride Mahlangu, Business Reporter
THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has called for placement of uniforms and stationery under the basic commodities list as education is a fundamental right for every child in the country.
The call comes in the wake of parents and guardians lamenting the high price of school uniforms and stationery as schools open for the first term today.
Parents said some schools are charging reasonable fees but uniforms and books were very expensive.
Public schools in Bulawayo were charging fees of between $200 and $500 yet a complete uniform set was selling for more than $2 000.
A school shirt is pegged at $276 a pair of trousers $253, a pair of stockings $65, school shoes $499, school shorts $288 and a blazer $805.
Parents with children going for Early Childhood Development (ECD), Grade 1 and Form One are the worst affected.
CCZ Matabeleland regional manager Mr Comfort Muchekeza said time was ripe for uniforms and stationery to be considered as basic commodities to satisfy the educational needs of all children.
“It’s high time now school uniform is classified as a basic necessity because education itself is a basic need, so all the package which goes with education should be basic,” he said.
“The Government should also work towards, that one aspect, that’s one role, that’s one responsibility of every administration to see to it that citizens have equal access to necessities.”
Mr Muchekeza said besides uniforms and stationery, schools have introduced groceries which parents cannot even afford at home but they are a necessity because their children need them when they get to school.
He castigated the charging of uniforms and stationery in forex by some businesses and urged the Government to take action.
“The issues of trading in forex are uncalled for and I think the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and other stakeholders should look into that,” said Mr Muchekeza.
He said practical action was necessary to stop forex dealings as this has become a huge blow to consumers.
Through the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 212 of 2019, the Government last September moved in to stop unscrupulous businesses from quoting, charging and accepting payments in United States dollars or any kind of foreign currency.
The regulation was proclaimed to ensure there is no continued use of the United States dollar and any other foreign currencies in domestic transactions. — @pridesinstinctz.