8 November 2018
. . . Supermarkets sabotaging
. . . beer prices soar
CUSTOMERS have expressed dismay over what they called deliberate sabotage by manufacturers who are starving the market of price controlled commodities as a way of cashing in on substitutes.
H-Metro toured a number of supermarkets and liquor stores where the usually preferred commodities were not on shelves while those seen as luxuries were in abundant supply.
There was no bread in supermarkets in the CBD toured by this publication but substitutes which have no pricing control were available.
There were rolls, doughnuts, queen cakes and buns among other confectionary products in all the shops yet bread was not available.
Locally made lagers were in short supply in outlets visited while brands, whiskeys and spirits were readily available as well as imported beers.
A bottle of Castle Lite costs from $3 to around $7 at different outlets while others are charging Castle Lite and other ciders in US dollars.
At Holly’s Hotel a 340ml Castle Lite costs $3 while the same costs $7 at Maestro. At liquor outlets at PaHuku the lager costs $5 a bottle.
In Chitungwiza, some outlets are demanding US dollars for Castle Lite lagers as well as other ciders.
In OK supermarket and Food World, Smirnoff storm and Guarana are going for $5 and $6,17 respectively.
Despite these price hikes, Delta had revealed in a statement that retailers are supposed to be selling 340mls Castle Lite at $1, Castle Lager, Black Label and Lion Lager 750mls should be sold at $1.50 whilst Eagle pint should be sold at 50cents.
At Pick n Pay Proton brown bread is going for $1,99 while Lobel’s and Baker’s Inn bread costs $1,45 and the bread is being sold at a loaf per customer.
However, this came after National Bakers Association notified the public last week that the price of a standard loaf should not exceed $1.30 and $1.40 to the wholesalers and consumers respectively.
A local customer who preferred anonymity said the deliberate unavailability of goods was a selfish strategy by manufacturers who prefer producing other products that fetch more money.
“I feel we are being taken advantage of by local retailers and manufacturers because if you go to most of these supermarkets, you will find out that there won’t be bread and other controlled products. But they will be selling scones and rolls.
“These products are offered to substitute bread which is mostly needed by us customers.
“As a customer I feel this is a deliberate sabotage of commodities whose prices are controlled by the government,” said the source.
Concern has also been raised by customers over some shops which are not following the government stipulated prices.
“We are being treated unfairly by some retail outlets who are not selling bread at the prices that were stipulated by the government.
“Bread is being sold between $1.45 and $2 by shops of which the government said that bread should be sold at $1.
“Retailers are putting big profits margins in selling alcohol and nothing is being done to those individuals,” he said.
Harare businessman and Holly’s club owner Biggie Chinoperekwei has professed ignorance on prices being charged in his bar blaming his members of staff for the hikes.
“I never told anyone to change prices; if they did they actually did that without my consent because that’s what these barmen usually do.
“Now that you have informed me about these shenanigans, I will definitely work on it because the barmen are probably taking advantage of the current situation in the country,” he said.
Another local businessman Ben Mukandi of Megga II defended hiking prices saying it was mainly because they were not getting supplies directly from Delta.
“I increased my prices because Delta is no longer supplying like they were doing before.
“They have reduced the number of crates a person should buy and you find that there will be long queues.
“There will be long queues and one would have hired a truck, so the longer those truck owners stay in a queue they will be also increasing fee for transportation.
“They are no longer offering variety of beers to customers, when you want to buy many crates you have to hire someone else to get them for you and you have to pay that person so it’s a hustle so I had no choice but to increase the prices.
“I am even thinking of closing the liquor outlets because we also have middlemen who are selling us beer at high prices,” he said.
Delta Corporation’s Marketing manager Patricia Murambinda said they had not yet changed their prices.
“We haven’t changed our prices so all our products should be sold with the same prices that they used to be sold before and also we only sell them to license holders,” she said.