Most major retail outlets in Bulawayo have reportedly run out of cooking oil as consumers buy the product in bulk in anticipation of looming shortages.
A survey conducted by CITE at major supermarkets in the central business district showed that most of the shelves were empty with a few shops still selling the product.
Sakhile Khumalo, a resident from Cowdray Park expressed fear that things would get worse than the 2008 era.
“We heard that cooking oil will be selling at $8 from $3.80,” she said.
“We bought yesterday from Pick n Pay where they were limiting each customer to 4 litres per person.
“Today there is nothing in most shops. People are now even stocking rice, sugar and mealie-meal fearing for the worst. We just hope things will not get as bad as 2008,”she added.
Meanwhile, local phamarcies in the city had also run out of most drugs and had suspended payment services such as medical aid and mobile money payment systems.
One local pharmacy, along Robert Mugabe Way, which still had some stocks was demanding cash upfront.
Jennifer Mangwaro, a resident who was turned away from the pharmacy told CITE she feared people would die due to shortage of essential drugs.
“This is one of the few pharmacies with drugs in town. It’s refusing to take medical aid, Eco cash and swipe. These people are being insensitive, they do realise there is no cash in circulation but demand it anyways,” she said.
“Hospitals are now also turning away people with medical aid. A local hospital yesterday turned me away claiming they need a cash top-up for my medical aid.
“My medical aid does not have shortfalls at all. Everyone is extorting money from desperate people and it is getting out of hand”.