Following the recent re-imposition of import duties on a range of basic food commodities by the Finance Ministry, supermarkets in major Zimbabwean cities have raised prices of maize meal and cooking oil, among other staples, by 50 cents to one US dollar.
Consumers reached by phone in Harare, Bulawayo, Zvishavane, Gweru and Masvingo said a 10-kilogram bag of maize meal has gone up in price by one dollar to US$5.56. They said cooking oil went up in price recently to US$3.05, a one dollar rise.
The Retailers Association of Zimbabwe and maize millers declined to comment.
Sugar is also up - US$2.26 for a two kilogram bag, from US$1.76 previously.
The rises come despite the warning by Finance Minister Tendai Biti to industries not to seize upon the restoration of import duties as an excuse to boost prices.
Zvishavane resident Chris Dube said the higher prices are pinching budgets. Bulawayo resident Mthabisi Dube argued that the price increases are unjustified.
Victoria Falls housewife Edna Ndebele said prices there have been stable since June.
“I have bought some of these goods in the past few weeks and indications are that prices have remained stable for for almost three months,” said Ndebele.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Deputy Secretary General Japhet Moyo said he is not happy to see prices rising again, as this will hurt low-paid Zimbabwean workers.