Government accuses retailers of profiteering, artificially creating goods shortages
The Zimbabwean government claims that retailers are speculatively pricing goods and creating artificial shortages that are sabotaging the economy.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa says a government survey found that while most basic commodities are generally available, “artificial shortages” exist in major retail chains.
Prices in formal retailers are “relatively high” compared to informal markets, Mutsvangwa said, indicating “speculative forward pricing” and profiteering. Retailers are refusing to accept the Zimbabwean dollar, forcing consumers to purchase unneeded items.
To address the issue, the Quality Assurance department is conducting enforcement activities and issuing fines to errant retailers.
The government recently suspended import duties for six months in response to what it calls “profiteering”by retailers.
However, prices of basic goods have skyrocketed, becoming unaffordable for most citizens earning Zimbabwean dollars that have been rapidly devaluing.
While the government blames retailers for shortages and high prices, accusing them of speculation and artificially inflating costs, prices remain high and out of reach for many Zimbabweans. The situation exposes tensions between retailers and the government over who is responsible for the economic difficulties facing citizens.