A rise in consumer goods prices and unemployment predicted

via A rise in consumer goods prices and unemployment predicted | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu October 8, 2013 

Zimbabweans should brace themselves for a sharp rise in unemployment and an increase in the prices of basic commodities, observers and industry captains have predicted.

The prediction follows last week’s revelations by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange that only about 10 of the 74 companies listed on the local bourse were operating at full capacity, while at least 100 firms have closed since 2011.

Also, the prediction comes at a time when workers across sectors are pushing for a rise in wages and salaries, amid a rise in the prices of basic commodities.

The Financial Gazette last week quoted the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange chairperson, Eve Gadzikwa, predicting an ‘industrial Armageddon’ which could see more company closures leading to a rise in unemployment.

An economic analyst, Masimba Kuchera, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that unemployment was likely to increase as companies were going to find it difficult to maintain and let alone increase the wage bill.

He said: ‘The point is that an increase in wages has got to be matched by an increase in productivity. But at the present moment our companies are heavily affected by things such as power cuts and outmoded infrastructure, meaning that their productivity is severely reduced’.

Zimbabwe Confederation of Industries President, Charles Msipa, said his organization was already under pressure from a ‘deluge of job seekers’ and was expecting an increase in the number of job seekers as well as an increase in prices of some commodities.

Msipa said the CZI annual conference, which opens Thursday in Bulawayo, was expected to produce proposals on the way forward to be presented to government and other stakeholders.

On Monday Delta Corporation, leaders in the beer market in the country, announced an increase in the price of beer by between 10 cents and 20 cents. This follows an increase in the price of fuel prices in August.

As these increases were being announced, the miners and teachers were also calling for an increase in their wages ,with the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe calling for a 50 percent rise in their wages.

The Bloomberg news agency quoted the union’s president Tinago Ruzive saying that his organization wanted salaries to be increased to $560 a month for those in the gold and chrome industries while those in diamond mining should get a raise from $500 to $1,000