Prices of basic food items — including maize-meal, rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, flour and bread — will revert to the levels of March 25, just before the lockdown, in an agreement between producers and the Government, Vice President Kembo Mohadi announced yesterday.
VP Mohadi, in the presence of the leaders of the involved business organisations, made the announcement at a press briefing at Munhumutapa Offices. The Vice President said the two sides had agreed that prices of basic commodities would revert to the levels they had reached on March 25.
This was when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe fixed the interbank exchange rate at $25 to US$1 for the duration of the Covid-19 emergency, the level it had reached in free trading in a managed float.
The chosen date means that the price rises caused by the rising rate during the managed float remain, but the extra price rises put in by producers in expectation of further rises in the exchange rate now fall away since for the time being there are no further rate changes.
The announcement followed the adoption of the price moratorium by Cabinet on Tuesday.
“There was a general agreement among the multi-sectoral partners that the price increase, particularly during the lockdown, was speculative and unjustified,” said the Vice President.
“The multi-sectoral stakeholders committed to a price moratorium to operate based on the prices, which were applicable on March 25. The moratorium will also apply to all value chain players. This was supported by Cabinet decision of April 21, 2020 and will take effect immediately,” VP Mohadi said.