In this article, I shall be looking at some of the interesting recent developments in Zimbabwe. I will look at price reviews, first and foremost, and then I will touch on other areas as well. Effective today, the 5th of March, NetOne has unveiled revised tariffs across the board. ZERA has also issued a communique announcing revised fuel prices.

New Fuel Prices Effective 5 March 2021

Fuel prices were last reviewed effective 5 January 2021. I will juxtapose the new against the old prices whilst also including dual pricing as follows:

Local Currency

Maximum Pump Price In ZWL$
    
DieselPetrol
    
OldNewOld New
    
100.91110.4199.35109.17

US Dollars

Maximum Pump Price In US$
    
DieselPetrol
    
OldNewOld New
    
1.231.321.211.30

As always operators may, however, sell at prices below the cap depending on their trading advantages. In fact, it has somehow become a norm that operators are selling at prices below the cap. That is all thanks to competition amongst operators plus supply and demand dynamics. Stakeholders are advised that the petroleum price releases by ZERA can be verified on the official ZERA website, Facebook, or Twitter handles.

New NetOne Tariffs Effective 5 March 2021

As earlier communicated, NetOne has just reviewed its bundle tariffs. I will cite some of the changes made to common bundle packages as follows:

Khuluma 24/7 Voice Call Bundles

PackagePrice In ZWL$
   
 OldNew
   
6 Minutes2430
12 Minutes4254
25 Minutes75100

OneFusion

PackagePrice In ZWL$
   
 OldNew
   
OneFusion Lite250350
OneFusion Gold400550
OneFusion Premium8001100

WhatsApp

PackagePrice In ZWL$
   
 OldNew
   
Daily – 20MB1622
Daily – 50MB3040
Weekly – 70MB5070
Weekly – 150MB100140
Monthly – 300MB150200
Monthly – 750MB350450

One-Fi

PackagePrice In ZWL$
   
 OldNew
   
10GB 2000
25GB25003500
50GB45005000
80GB60006500

Being a NetOne user myself I would say the bundle tariffs are relatively reasonable. The differences between the new tariffs and the old ones are quite small for the most part. Finally, NetOne decided to heed customers’ calls to introduce a cheaper or cheaper entry point One-Fi bundle(s). That 10GB bundle costing ZWL$2000 was not there before. However, Econet still has a better advantage of having 8GB and 15GB bundles which cost ZWL$2000 and ZWL$2000 at the moment. Not sure when and how they will be reviewed but Econet has a competitive advantage on that.

Clear Signs Of Relative Stability

Looking through the past months (save for January); inflation has actually been going down. We have also been witnessing largely constant official and parallel market exchange rates. Exchange rates have been predominantly stable for the past 6 months and still counting. That is why lately, fuel price hikes or bundle tariff hikes have not been drawing loud criticism. As much as prices are being reviewed upwards from time to time it is relatively manageable. At least that is so for those who have been consistently getting some form of income despite the pandemic. Most of you can recall a time, not too long ago, when prices would surge in astounding ways.

As the nation slowly gets back on its feet we can anticipate some interesting developments to occur. For instance, the Beitbridge municipality recently increased its water tariffs by 7 per cent. They cited challenges borne out of the pandemic as their basis for the tariff hike. We might see this trend being rampant as entities find their footing again. They also highlighted that the decision was also influenced by the fact that ZINWA had hiked its bulk water supply tariffs by 25 per cent. It was recently announced that schools will be opening soon starting with exam classes. Already teachers are talking of salary increments due to their having been grounded by the pandemic. A salary equivalent to US$520 is what they are looking for. It will be interesting to see how that goes; especially knowing how civil servants wage hikes tend to push prices hikes.