Prices Go Haywire As Greedy Retailers Take Advantage of Lockdown
In a sad development, prices have skyrocketed as some retailers have taken advantage of the 21-day national lockdown to increase prices and profiteer at the expense of the masses. The lockdown which was declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Friday to curb the spread of the coronavirus is currently on its third day.
Security forces have been deployed to enforce the lockdown and some people have actually been arrested for defying the lockdown. Even though shopping for essentials is allowed under the law, many people are wary about going out following reports of abuses by law enforcement personnel.
This has seen some retailers seeking to cash in on the desperate customers who did not have sufficient cash to stock up for the lockdown. Barely 12 hours after the lockdown was announced, some retailers had already adjusted their prices to cash in on people who were desperate to get enough supplies to last the lockdown.
However, some have gone a step further and increased their prices even further to take advantage of the people who were unable to or who could not afford to buy groceries in sufficient quantities to last them till the lockdown.
A disgruntled customer shared a receipt, which shows some of these outrageous prices, on social media. According to the receipt of the goods bought at Spar Express in Avondale, Harare, cooking oil is now going for an outrageous $300 for 2 Litres. This price is almost a 100 percent increase from the price that was obtaining less than a week ago. Mazoe Orange Crush cordial is going for an eye-popping $300 for 2 Litres. Before President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the 21-day lockdown, Mazoe Orange Crush was going for well below $150 for the 2 Litre container.
Take a look at the prices below:
Consumer protection watchdog, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ)has decried the prices increases calling them unconscionable. The CCZ called on the government to protect vulnerable consumers from the greedy retailers. Writing on social media, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said,
We are receiving reports from our network around the country of big increases in prices of food #COVID19 2lts cooking oil $Z117-150, 2kg brown sugar $195, pocket of potatoes $Z300-500, bread $Z30. It is unconscionable to increase prices of food at this time.
We ask Government to step in and protect vulnerable Consumers whose pockets are overburdened as it and also trying to cope with the lockdown,
— Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (@CCZ_263) April 1, 2020
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