It’s available but …..


Imported exotic foods, toys, beers, rice, salad creams, fish and soft drinks are now available in most supermarkets and grocery shops but looking at the prices one wonders whether Ogil funds should be used for such “luxury” items especially if there is no shortage of local substitutes.

True, people should have freedom of choice but at times like these when the primary concern should be on items that will save the nation from starvation, there should be a closer look at what is imported.

A casual shopping list goes like this. Imported beer -including Castle which could actually have been brewed in Zimbabwe but canned in South Africa- costs $6.59 a can of just 340 ml. Our local Castle costs up to $1.35 in bottle stores with some as cheap as $1.07.

A can of coke of the same size goes for a hefty $4.39 compared to our king size coke, though 40 ml smaller, which costs 60 cents.

Spirits even costs more, with half scotch whisky going for $70 and a straight for $105. But if you want that whisky in a special case you have to cough up some $220 -one year’s school fees for a primary school child in the low density area plus $10 change.

Good wine too goes for a price of some $49. Local wine which we are often told is of international standards and wins some prizes at wine shows -is five-times cheaper and so is local whisky.

One may say, of course, who cares about wine and beer except drinkers? Well, take a packet of imported rice. Tastic rice goes for $28 for a 2kg packet but it seems to have disappeared from the shelves. It has been replaced by Pakistan rice which goes for $39 for the same packet. Grain Marketing Board supplied rice is under $5 for a 2kg packet.

Tinned fish is also available galore but be prepared to pay upwards of $12 a tin which will not feed a family of four. Salad dressing goes for $19 a bottle while single-cell batteries are now fetching upwards of $4 each.

But the price hikes do not only pertain to imported goods. Refined mealie meal is out of reach of most people and one wonders how long roller meal will continue to be subsidised especially with more and more expensive maize being imported.

Millers too no longer have an incentive to produce roller meal. They too will soon get tired of doing a social welfare job. After all they are in business.

Even the much advertised Coca cola jumbo mugs are selling for double the advertised price and you won’t get it in shops but on the streets.

As for sugar and margarine -if you don’t fill up your trolley, not basket, forget about getting it. And filling the trolley means pumping out over $200. How is that for a living …?


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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