The National Consumer Rights Association is deeply concerned with the recent unsustainable and, in certain respects, unwarranted rise in the cast of living. Whatever the cost behind this must be urgently addressed by all stakeholders.

It is important that, while addressing the immediate pain, steps be taken to decisively deal with the economic fundamentals so that we have an economy that creates jobs with rising incomes, reduce on imports and generates enough foreign currency to handle our import bill, especially fuel and factory retooling equipment.

This rise in the cost of living will further eat into the little disposable incomes of workers and millions of people already suffering under the weight of unemployment. The result will be a serious decline in the standards of living and deeper and extremely painful poverty levels among the overwhelming majority of Zimbabwe.

We urge the business community to avoid avoidable and unjustified price rises and take into account that worker’ wages have remained stagnant over a long period of time. In fact, salaries have seriously declined in real terms and nothing has been done by business to make the necessary cost-of-living adjustments so that wages and salaries keep up with the inflation. Some basic commodities have risen ten to twenty fold without any corresponding or whatsoever rise in incomes. To make matters worse, the overwhelming number of consumers upon which businesses depend are the unemployed. This rise in the cost of living cuts a deep wound in the lives of people, harming the young and old, employed and unemployed, in a profound way even for people accustomed to pain in recent years.

We call upon government to urgently convene a cost-of-living forum in which government, business and workers and consumers will be represented. It must be remembered that not all consumers are workers, so the unemployed consumer must have a seat at the table as well. Appropriate steps must be taken to cushion consumers, both employed and unemployed, from the unrelenting rise in the cost of basic commodities upon which day to day life depends. The forum must address the real root causes of the unabated rise in the cost of living.

Consumer Rights are Human Rights

Source: National Consumer Rights Association (NACORA)