Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday called on the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe to reconsider its position to hike the price of bread and allow consultations to take place.
Yesterday, a loaf of bread was being sold for RTGS$3,50 up from RTGS$2.
This comes as Government on Monday night injected 20 million litres of fuel into the market to augment supplies ahead of the Easter and Independence holidays that begin tomorrow.
Of the 20 million litres whose distribution started on Tuesday night, diesel constitutes 12 million litres while the remainder is petrol.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that the bread price hikes, whether by design or otherwise, could dampen the people’s mood ahead of the holidays.
She said the move was also against Government’s efforts to engage with all stakeholders, business included.
“The Minister of Industry and Commerce presented to Cabinet a letter by the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe, stating their intention to immediately hike the price of bread without any recourse to consultations with the Government as is the normal procedure,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“Of particular concern to Cabinet also is the timing of the planned price increase, which is coming exactly two days before the national Independence celebrations. Such a move, whether by design or otherwise, certainly has the effect of dampening the mood of the nation.
“Furthermore, the unilateral action does not bode well to ongoing efforts by Government to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders, business included, with a view to creating a stable environment where businesses can compete and thrive.
“It can be recalled that on 29 October 2018, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa met with business leaders at State House where he stated that Government has an open door policy and stands ready for any engagement and consultations in order to ensure that the economy stabilises.
“As such, unilateral price hikes, particularly on basic commodities that our people cannot do without is not in consonance with the spirit of mutual engagement that Government is encouraging.”
She went on: “Cabinet, therefore, calls on the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe to defer the planned hike in the price of bread in order to allow the normal mutual consultations to take place.
“The consultations are aimed at facilitating a clearer understanding of the issues of concern and to explore solutions thereto.”
On fuel supply ahead of the holidays, Minister Mutsvangwa said: “The Minister of Energy and Power Development Minister informed Cabinet that measures have been taken to ensure that there will be adequate fuel supply with an injection of 20 million which has been uplifted as from last night (Tuesday night).
“This means there will be enough fuel in the country as we go towards Easter and Independence holidays.
“There will be enough fuel for all to attend independence celebrations and also for those who may want to travel for Easter.”
She said enough fuel was also available for the 2019 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which runs from April 23 to 27 in Bulawayo.
Energy and Power Development Minister Joram Gumbo said the fuel injection was meant to supplement current supplies.
“Our daily consumption of fuel at the moment is about three million litres of diesel per day and two million litres of petrol per day,” he said.
“The 20 million litres injection which started to be uplifted as from last night is an addition to the already or normal fuel that we normally receive in the market.
“As far as we are concerned, people must be able to enjoy the holidays without any hitches.”