MILLERS have applied to the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) to be allowed to set the prices of products under their purview, rather than have it done by a government appointed body.
The application was made last Thursday by the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), whose membership is charged with producing maize meal, baker’s flour, self-raising flour, rice and salt.
The association, which has also established a finance and costing technical committee to oversee the pricing of members’ products, pleaded that if allowed, the move would be in the “best interest of consumers”.
“The impact of the pricing of our products to the national inflation basket computation is significant, as they are necessities that every citizen has an inalienable constitutional right to their access and consumption,” Musarara said in a letter to the competition commission.
“The absence of a collective price review (mechanisms) will result in unrestrained price hikes, creation of serious and severe inflationary pressures, food insecurity and
subsequently, social unrest.”
The GMAZ chairman said the current situation did not protect consumers from unscrupulous market forces.
“The government makes subsidy interventions to stabilise the prices of maize meal and flour (by extension bread). In order to ensure that these subsidies benefit end consumers,
it is imperative that the manufacturers collectively review their cost drivers and align their margins so that the final retail prices are not subjected to the vices of
profiteering, especially in times of scarcity,” said Musarara.
Millers buy maize grain and wheat from government through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at a subsidised price.