The Government will start to determine the reference prices for basic necessities imported from neighbouring South Africa. The measure comes into force within 15 days and aims to control price speculation on the domestic market.
“Operators can determine the price they want, but they cannot be above the margins that are determined by law,” said the Minister of Industry and Trade, Silvino Moreno, on Monday 22 May.
The measure comes days after the Mukhero Association, an organisation that brings together small informal importers, warned that the prices of basic products could suffer some increase following the readjustment of fuel tariffs. However, before the new fuel price list came into force, basic products at the wholesale market in Zimpeto, the biggest in the country, had already suffered a considerable increase, where a bag of onions, for example, varies between 750 meticais and 800 meticais.
“We are reviewing the commercial law so that we set a maximum profit margin, especially for basic products. We are introducing a system of inspection that goes from the import process to placing them on the market. We are going to introduce a decree, in the coming weeks, that sets the reference price,” said the minister, cited by TVM (Mozambique Television).
Currently, suppliers determine the price according to the purchase price in the neighbouring country’s farms.
Thus, the Government wants to be part of the reference price indication to avoid that the profit margin is not high enough to hurt the final consumer’s pocket.
“It means that the country will have an instrument through which to control the price of imports and the price of exports. The importer, when bringing onions or potatoes, cannot invent a price. As a Government, we will have the possibility of fixing the real price of each product”, he stressed.