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Lockdown: Cabinet mulls price freeze on basic commodities

By Staff Writer

The government has announced that it is considering a price freeze on selected basic commodities during the ongoing national lockdown after it noted that the reemergence of the three-tier pricing system resulted in price hikes.

Local retailers are now demanding payment of goods and services in United States dollars, Zimbabwe dollar and plastic money following new measures by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe allowing payment in hard currency.

This development has piled inflationary pressure on the economy resulting in prices going beyond the reach of many.

With many people currently staying at home due to the ongoing lockdown aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, concerns have been raised over the rise in prices of goods.

READ: COVID-19 EVENTS AS THEY HAPPEN

“Cabinet considered and approved a report on the country’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19,” reads part of the Cabinet meeting decision matrix in part.

“In view of the foregoing, Cabinet agreed that discussions regarding the proposed moratorium on prices of identified basic commodities were concluded and announcements in this regard will be made in due course.”

READ: LOCKDOWN IS NOT PUNISHMENT SAYS MNANGAGWA

According to the country’s statistical agency, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate rose to 676.39% in March from 540.16% in February as the local currency lost value against major currencies.

This is the highest inflation rate since 2009 when the government adopted the multi-currency system to tame price hikes.

Turning to the screening and testing of COVID-19 government announced that it will test up to 40,000 people by month-end.

VIDEO: TENDAI BITI SPEAKS ON COVID-19 FUNDING

Official figures show that to date Zimbabwe has conducted a total of 3 380 Rapid Results screening and PCR Tests as at 19 April 2020 compared to the 600 tests that had been done by 14th April 2020.

The number of confirmed positive cases are now 25, up from the 17 that had been recorded as at 14 April 2020. Get all COVID-19 statistics for Zimbabwe from COVID-TRACKER 

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is the news editor for OpenParlyZW an online platform that covers Parliament of Zimbabwe activities using social media (Twitter and Facebook). He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum and a board member of Digital Communication Network.

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