Harare – Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, Deputy Director Rosemary Mpofu, says the consumers right to information is being violated as the government is not providing adequate communication in the face of a depreciating economic situation.
This she says, creates panic, thus consumers resort to hoarding.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting hosted by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) on Thursday, Mpofu said consumers need to have answers to the cause behind the declining economic situation which include fuel shortages and a disparity in the pricing of goods and commodities.
Below is a highlight of what she commented on.
· Consumers right to information is being violated.
“What is happening today is that we’re not having enough information as consumers. We don’t know what’s going on,” she said.
“Why are we having fuel shortages, why are we having all these price distortions on the market.”
· Consumers need to know about all these things and they need explanations.
· She also challenged the local economists to step up their advisory role to the relevant authorities.
“One wonders what the economists are doing because if they’re failing to advise the authorities then why are you there.”
· Going forward, she suggested the formation of an Economists body, like the Doctor’s Associations and the Lawyers bodies.
This would help the economists to speak with one voice which would also enable them to give proper advise to government.
“You’re not advising the relevant authorities to tell them that it’s the market which should dictate. Its not these laws to say 1.1 (referring to government stance on the USD/Bond exchange rate.”
· The disparity, she says misleads the consumer and creates opportunities for “thieves”.
For the industry to boosts in this ailing economy and for the creation of employment, the economy needs seriousness and the role of economists is nothing less but significant.
· She also highlighted the issue of price disparities as a concern for the consumers. Mpofu denounced the business operators such as retailers and wholesalers who are taking advantage of the situation by manipulating consumers who end up bearing the burden of the distorted pricing system.
“All the disorder that is on top there, it’s the consumer that has to bear it all,” she said.
Price distortions have become common lately, for instance some retailers are selling school uniforms in USD where a blouse costing $US20 is being sold for $120 in bond or RTGS value. One can only wonder which rate is being used at this pricing system.
Fear of the unknown has forced consumers to resort to hoarding and staying in long queues to purchase products in short supply denying consumers the chance to attend to other developmental issues.
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