RBZ officials to meet retailers over price hikes

18 Jul 2022

Officials from Zimbabwe’s central bank are planning to hold talks with retailers on Tuesday in regard to price hikes.

According to a report by the Sunday Mail, the bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) will meet with retailers and manufacturers to discuss the price increases placed on consumer goods. The talks follow mounting concerns certain businesses throughout the country are accessing funds from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) weekly foreign exchange auction, then pegging prices to black market currency rates, the report states. This is helping to drive up exorbitant price increases for consumers.

Following the meeting, the Financial Intelligence Unit and police are planning an “intensive blitz” to seek out and take legal steps against the perpetrators, according to the FIU’s director-general, Oliver Chiperesa.

The Zimbabwean Dollar is the worst performing currency in Africa, Bloomberg reports, weakening 72% against the Dollar so far in 2022. The Zimbabwean Dollar officially trades at Z$391 per U.S. Dollar, but is weaker on the parallel market where it is quoted as between Z$600 to Z$800 per Dollar. 

Steps taken to protect the currency have included hiking interest rates to 200%, a global high. Annual inflation in the country soared to a 13-month high of 192% last month.

Last week, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube cautioned that retailers could lose their operating licences if they refuse to accept local currency by consumers.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Denford Mutashu urged businesses to comply: “The retail and wholesale sector must obey the law and give us an opportunity to seek redress on areas that each of the members may feel aggrieved about. We have got to comply with the law and continue to engage with authorities.”