THE recent announcement that prices will no longer be controlled and/or fixed but monitored is a good thing.
Price controls brought the black market which in turn brought high prices as products disappeared from the shop shelves.
Business has been clamouring for the removal of price controls telling us that they bring scarcity as manufacturers and retailers are then not able to recoup their costs.Â Â Â
That seemed fine as even us the consumers sang the same song having learnt the hardest way when the NIPC pounced on businesses and worsening the already desperate situation. Business also advocated for the dollarisation of the economy, citing various position papers from known and unknown economists.
At the end of the day however it would seem that our business leaders want to milk us dry as there is no justification in the prices they are charging.
Take Delta, Innscor, and all the mobile phone operators for instance. All their products are way above their South African equivalents. Whoever visits South Africa is able to come back with a mobile phone Sim card on every trip they make yet here one is barely able to buy a mere recharge card!
A litre of Coca Cola here is selling at the price of a two litre one in South Africa. A pint of beer is selling at the price of a South African quart.
A one piecer Innscor pack is priced at the equivalent of a three piecer in South Africa yet the chickens and potatoes are home grown.
If our business cannot serve us faithfully then it is better that the informal trader be accorded the chance to bring in these goods duty-free as was the case in December where we saw the prices of groceries going down in supermarkets as we all flocked outside the shops where we could negotiate prices.
Our one and only brewery is still licking its wounds inflicted by the informal traders as the people shunned its â€œno empty no drink â€œÂ nonsense and opted for bargain â€œBacossi six packsâ€!
I would rather they monitor prices so that they conform to regional standards. If business cannot take that then they should just close shop. South African retailers are ready to pounce as they did in Zambia.