Zimbabwe allows another price hike of goods, services

HARARE, Sept 7, 2007 (AFP) – The Zimbabwean government has authorised all retailers to raise prices by 20 percent, in a bid to to ease widespread shortages, reports said Friday. The price hike comes two weeks after government allowed retailers and manufacturers to increase prices on basic commodities such as sugar, cooking oil, chicken and soap.

The country experienced mass shortages after President Robert Mugabe’s government launched Operation Dzikisa (Reduced Prices), forcing shops and businesses to halve their prices as part of a controversial crackdown on so-called profiteers.

Obert Mpofu, the country’s industry minister, told the state-run Herald that the prices of all goods and services that were not part of the initial review could now be increased.

“The taskforce on price monitoring and stabilisation would like to remind the business community that the price of all goods and services that have not yet been reviewed by the taskforce should be priced using the manufacturer/supplier prices of June 18, 2007 plus a mark up of up to 20 percent, plus VAT where applicable,” Mpofu was quoted as saying.

While the price crackdown was initially welcomed since it e