Zim reports price decline in February

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Harare - The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has reported that falling prices of basic commodities has resulted in the breadbasket for a family of six for the month of February dropping by 20 percent to $122 from $153 in January.

It was a rare price decline for a country with the world's highest inflation rate at some 230 million percent, according to the last official estimates released in July last year.

This was the first decline in a decade.

Executive Director at CCZ Rosemary Siyachitema said that increased competition on the market had caused the drop in the cost of the basket.

"The decline is attributed to the mass reduction of prices of basic commodities," said Ms Siyachitema, who disclosed that the monthly basket for food and detergents for the same period had decreased by 19 percent from $167 for January to $135.25 for February.

The overall basket comprising toiletry, transport, rentals, utility bills and school fees for that same period is $374.25 against $381.23 for the previous month.

"This is attributed to high charges of water, electricity, telephones, and other service charges," she said.

The CCZ was receiving complaints from consumers who wanted service providers to review their rates. "Service providers need to revise their rates as they put the country's recovery programme at risk," she said.

Ms Siyachitema added that there was a need to consider the plight of consumers as most of them were not earning much in foreign currency.

The government has directed utilities such as local authorities and power utility Zesa to revise their tariffs and not to cut off supplies from consumers who fail to pay high utility bills