DELTA Beverages has slashed prices of its mainstream beer products with immediate effect in keeping with the steady commodity price reductions being witnessed across the country.
Economic analysts say the trend is an indicator of increasing production volumes and the quest for improved domestic competitiveness, which heralds positive economic growth.
The leading beverages maker has extended cheer to imbibers by cutting beer prices across the pint (375ml) and the quart (750ml) packs for mainstream brands – Castle and Lion Lager and Carling Black label “ahead of the festive season”.
The price of the popular pint and quart packs has been reduced from $0.90 to $0.80 and $1.55 to $1.50 respectively while all other brands and pack prices remain unchanged.
“The new prices come into effect on Thursday, October 1, 2015 and have already been communicated to our valued customers,” Munyaradzi Nyandoro, Delta’s general manager said yesterday.
“We’re delighted to announce this price change ensuring that we enhance beer affordability for our hard working consumers. It’s our sincere hope that our consumers will be happy with the early cheer ahead of the festive season.”
Several businesses have also cut prices of their goods in the past few months.
The price of 500g of margarine now averages $1 from $2,50, a litre of Coke has dropped to $1 from $1,40, cooking oil now costs $2,75 from $3.50 while a 500ml bottle of mahewu has been reduced to $0,40 from $0,60 with mineral water now selling for as low as $0,25 from $0,50.
A 2kg pack of rice costs $1,45 from around $2, a 2kg packet of sugar averages $1,69 from $2 while 10kg mealie meal has also dropped to about $4,19 from about $6.
Experts project the trend would continue in light of the weakening South African rand and increased usage of bond coins, which are indexed at par with the United States dollar.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president and United Refineries chief executive officer, Busisa Moyo, said with increasing competition local firms are under pressure to cut prices.
“Well, the reason why the prices of commodities are going down is because of the competitive landscape. Local producers are getting pressure from consumers and importers in pricing their goods,” said Moyo.
“The other thing is the volumes. Industries have increased their production so prices will continue going down.”
Economic analyst Reginald Shoko said the weakening of the rand was a major advantage to local firms who now procure inputs, mainly from South Africa, at cheaper prices.
“Local industries procure most of their inputs from South Africa so they’re benefitting on the back of a stronger US$ currency. I think that’s one of the reasons why they have reduced prices because they no longer incur huge costs,” he said.
Shoko said industry deserves applause for responding positively to market forces, especially at a time when consumer buying power is constrained.
“With low disposable incomes companies can’t continue charging higher. This is also about pushing volumes especially on the alcohol side because there are now many players and there’s the issue of competition,” he added.
Price cuts are also expected to enhance domestic product competitiveness in the wake of an influx of cheap imports, which have resulted in the widening of trade deficit.
Analysts say the move would benefit local firms in terms of sales in the context of the ban on selected consumer goods.
Companies such as Delta Beverages and Econet Wireless have adopted a bold stance in calling their suppliers to slash prices.
The firms also cut perks for their staff in keeping with their cost containment measures.
There are increased calls to also review labour, utilities, transport, technology and taxation costs, which have been blamed for increasing the cost of doing business in the country.
Source: The Herald