Retailers are expected to reduce the prices of goods and services following the introduction of coins as change would now be readily available, an official from Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.
BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
CCZ executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said the central bank has done a good thing by injecting coins into the economy. She said consumers have been crying foul due to the unavailability of coins in the economy as they were forced to buy sweets that they did not need.
“We are anticipating this to bring down the costs of products, if not then we will know that the retailers were not telling the truth when they said they were rounding off the prices of commodities as there was no change on the market,” she said.
Siyachitema said the consumer watchdog was looking forward to seeing products that cost US$1,33 or US$1,79 as change was now there.
The central bank governor John Mangudya on Friday said the introduction of coins would buttress the multi-currency system through the provision of change especially for the United States Dollars. The coins will be in circulation beginning December 18 and the central bank would carry out awareness campaigns in the country.
“Our expectation is that the introduction of bond coins would necessitate correct pricing for goods and services which hitherto was constrained by the absence of appropriate system of coins. These coins shall therefore go a long way in mitigating the country’s lopsided pricing structure for the convenience of consumers,” Mangudya said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Charles Msipa said the introduction of coins would improve liquidity in the economy.
“Consumer goods businesses greatly welcome the introduction of coins as they will increase the ease of retail transactions and enable producers to price their products and services more competitively,” Msipa said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said the coming in of coins was a welcome development as customers were struggling to get change and some received vouchers which were inconvenient.
“There was no guarantee of durability of vouchers to customers and the customers were supposed to redeem the vouchers from the same shop,” he said.
Mutashu said the coins would help ease liquidity challenges that had resulted in low demand which had in turn made retailers reduce margins to lure customers, a move that was not viable in the long run.
Mutashu said the central bank needed to seek ways to improve liquidity in the economy to stimulate demand. He said constrained demand was the major impediment for the sector so far because there was competition in the market.
The vendors and informal traders needed to be formalised so that government could get revenues.
“We cannot quantify the effect that the informal sector has had on retailers. It would require one to do prudent research,” he said.
Rentals needed to be looked at so that they were commensurate with the environment.
He said local manufacturers need to start producing products so that they could compete with other products.