THE National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) is currently engaging manufacturers and producers countrywide to establish pricing formulae , a strategy meant to arrest the current distortions on cost of goods and services.
Since the adoption of a mono currency recently, Zimbabwe has witnessed a two-tier pricing model for goods and services pegged in bond notes and electronic transactions, resulting in profiteering by some business people.
It has been gathered that the NCC has over the past weeks been engaging industry players, giving recommendations to Government and the private sector on the state of the pricing regimes.
The widespread consultation by the commission has seen some players in the industry adjusting their prices in line with cost of production.
Government says it is also working on strengthening the Competitions and Tariff Commission (CTC) by putting in strong measures that promote competition and stiffer penalties for companies that violate competition laws.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Mangaliso Ndlovu said the measures would ensure prices of goods and services are ‘realistic’.
Minister Ndlovu also said the Consumer Protection Bill, which now awaits assent by the President, after passing in Parliament, will help protect consumers against unnecessary price hikes.
“There are quite a number of measures that we are taking. We are in the process of capacitating the National Competitiveness Commission, an institution that looks closely at competitiveness and major cost drivers.
“They are working with the private sector, interrogating these price changes and industry, in a number of cases, has had to adjust their prices.
“We are also in the process of strengthening the CTC which looks at competition in the country.
‘‘Due to hardships that were there, we have some companies that were developing monopoly tendencies and some cartels had also emerged.
“Thus, some prices have become inefficient over time. We are putting in strong measures so that we promote competition. We are putting stiffer penalties for companies that violate competition laws through uncompetitive acquisitions and mergers or price corrosion.
“We are also happy to say the private sector itself is taking an active role in peer monitoring where they are saying it is important to remain competitive and protect brands or products from retailers who want to profiteer.
“So ultimately, we are seeing a containment of the rampant profiteering that has been happening. It is still a long way to go, but there is some progress there.
Minister Ndlovu said the Consumer Protection Bill had provisions for the creation of the Consumer Protection Commission which will be tasked with enforcing consumer rights issues.
President Mnangagwa is on record warning businesses over overpriced goods and services that the end is nigh on such practices.