Zimbabwean authorities confirmed on Tuesday that the suspension of import duties on basic commodities, with the intention of addressing the significant price hikes, will be in place for six months.
“Import duty on the 14 basic commodities will remain suspended for six months in order to ensure their availability at competitive prices,” Monica Mutsvangwa, minister of publicity and broadcasting services, said during a post-cabinet media briefing.
According to Mutsvangwa, a government survey revealed that while most basic commodities are accessible in both formal and informal retail shops, there are still shortages of some locally produced goods, especially in formal retail shops.
Consumers are compelled to purchase goods they don’t necessarily want in formal retail outlets when using the U.S. dollar, the minister said, noting that is primarily due to a scarcity of change and the refusal of outlets to combine transactions in U.S. dollars and Zimbabwean dollars.
To mitigate the unfair trading practices, Mutsvangwa said that the government is conducting an enforcement campaign on the quality and measurements of basic commodities and issuing appropriate fines, and creating a hotline that will receive and respond to complaints from consumers.