President slams arbitrary price increases

President Mnangagwa

President Mnangagwa

Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ruled out legislation against arbitrary price increases and instead directed Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Dr Mike Bimha to bring together stakeholders and take corrective measures.

In a brief interview after the swearing-in of Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi at State House in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the spirit of profiteering should stop to ensure economic development.

“We are very concerned as Government about the general prices on the market. I had a meeting yesterday with the Minister of Industry (Commerce and Enterprise Development) Dr Bimha (and directed him) to call the manufacturers, sellers and retailers and discuss with them. We don’t think it is good to go for legislation; we need to come to an understanding and have the people in these categories appreciate where we are coming from and where we want to go,” President Mnangagwa said.

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The President went on: “They must have a human face. They mustn’t be profiteering because in some cases we find the same article is sold at this price in this shop, different from that shop. Why should the difference be 15-20 percent on one item? We have to interrogate those issues.”

Prices of basic goods have been spiralling since late September 2017 when social media speculated on commodity shortages ahead of the festive season, but that never happened.

This is the second time in as many weeks that President Mnangagwa has condemned price hikes. Addressing delegates attending the 6th Buy Zimbabwe Annual Awards in Harare last week, President Mnangagwa said the practice was “counter-economic” and could not be allowed to continue.

He said business should complement Government efforts to revive the economy by refraining from counter-productive measures like selling cash and use of a multi-tier pricing system.

“We need to examine our modus operandi as captains of industry and commerce if we are ever going to move forward. There are some dealers, suppliers and business owners who are in the habit of increasing prices willy-nilly without proper justification. Let me hasten to say my Government says no to such counter-economic practices,” President Mnangagwa said.

A survey report by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe ahead of the Christmas holiday showed that the cost of some items had gone down in major supermarkets.

CCZ executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said: “We did a survey on major supermarkets (last week) and we have noticed that basic commodities prices in some supermarkets have decreased. Some goods have decreased by $1 compared to other shops, so we advise consumers to shop around. The basic goods whose prices have slightly decreased include cooking oil, sugar, mealie-meal and poultry products.”

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said prices would continue to decline following the National Competitiveness Commission’s intervention.

He said: “We expect the prices to go down further after Christmas. We have been engaging various stakeholders across the value chain, and have roped in the National Competitiveness Commission with a view to bringing down prices.

“We have also been engaging beef producers over the past week so that they reduce beef prices. Some of them have been taking advantage of avian flu which was affecting poultry products to increase prices of beef, which was now on demand. Beef producers were putting exorbitant mark-ups. So, we have been engaging them to reduce prices. In addition, we have also engaged Government on the issue; we are working on the matter.”

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  • Robert

    Rhetorical slamming never ever works. Economics 101. Could someone close to H.E. EDM kindly advise him so. Attempting to superficially attend to the symptoms does not work! FULL STOP. The symptoms will resurface sooner or latter. These poor retailers are simply reacting to an environment that the current government created en bloc. It is an open secret. The selfsame government ought to redress and undo its wrongs it wrought to the economy, only can the businesses adapt positively, and cooperate. Any forceful cohesion or JUNTA intervention can ever work in the long-term.

  • Givemore Chivandaidze

    The only quick solution is to scrap bond notes and improve cash shortages. Either we rather go for Rands..For as long as bond notes are in place, with cash shortages continue then the 3 tier -pricing system shall be difficult to handle. One with USD cash is given high priority than swipe/ ecocash or Bond notes due to scarcity of the Green back.The whole chaos was brought up since the introduction of bond notes. These bond notes took away pple’s Confidence.The Ministry of industry and trade and That of Finance are far away from reality as they keep telling fake stories.

    It’s not a secret that USD cash is on High demand with shop owners Down town do not accept swipe or ecocash and I wonder why these Ministers keep feeding the president with false. We are relying informal trading who depend on cash and importing for which the informak traders controls the economy which was dangerously introduced by Government as indigenization. Indians, Chinese and many of our informal traders do not do banking and only deals in cash only yet these are the main actors at the moment. USD cash is being sold at between 50-70% whilst bond cash is still selling at between 20-25% by these unscrupulous pple.This is where all problems starts.Ngavaende kuma tuckshops, downtown streets as disguising shoppers vazvionere ndokune cash yese uku nyika ichitambura.

  • yowe

    Bond Notes need to be addressed…these cash shortages are leading to the creation of money and an opportunity for retailers to increase prices. Its time government starts to act

  • Yowe zvangu

    plis mr president,ths is the tym to start to price shld hike..maprice ngaasakwire..zvikatoerekana zvatanga yatove nhamo kuzozvirega

  • Ndini zvangu

    Just abolish the SI64 muone kuti ma prices anodonha seiko, if I am allowed to import my own groceries then the Tuck-shops in down Harare will feel the pinch.

    We have to produce are own food, thumps up to the Command Agric though it has its challenges but above all, Productivity kills this import dependency syndrome we have as a country, US Dollar is scarce saka importers will mop it up at whatever cost and just pass on the bill to the consumers. Liquidity crunch plus other cost drivers like Electricity, Fuel etc zvika gadziriswa then nyika inoita mushe.

    Then more over, the informal sector is not being taxed hence the slow economic growth, there is a lot of tax that’s not being collected kunanaMagaba, Glenview etc.ZIMRA please wake up from your deep slumber, you will not operate a small business in Swaziland for example without the SRA (Swaziland Revenue Authority) knocking on your door. All business (formal or informal) should be registered and should pay tax, period

  • Todii

    Just open the borders and allow imports they will adjust their prices

  • Progressive Zimbabwean

    Let us reduce rhetoric posturing and get down to real work. We need to produce and export more than we are importing. We have our tourism which we need to market aggressively. We have various manufacturing sector opportunities that need to be boosted. We can build on the agro processing and also ensure we stabilise our farming so that we ensure a constant supply of raw input. Let us re establish our lost beef markets and also aim to improve our poultry so that we do not have unnecessary shortages as is currently the case.We must eat our own meat and produce our own eggs and have excess to export. The reason why I personally preferred a period of stability on the political front, a period without elections, is because I noted that we tend to have a lot of politics dominating when people should be burning their energy in factories, workshops and the fields. As for the Herald, I implore you to take a more conciliatory tone and avoid taking a partisan position. Go to the MDC gatherings for the purpose of reporting and not finding fault in what they are doing. Report on issues that you see as positive that come out of these meetings. I am sure Tendai Biti, Nelson Chamisa, Dumiso Dabengwa and Mai Mujuru say some things that contribute positively to national development. Let us hear them and learn to tolerate their divergent views or positions especially on matters to do with the economy. Zimbabwe is full of brains and energy and these need to be earnestly harnessed. We can rise above these problems as a nation. Yes we can!

  • Ticha

    Chickens coming home to roost. Your predecessor created the problem which is now manifesting. You can’t increase money supply by two billion dollars in a year and not expect price and currency effects !
    Show that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination again and funds will flow in to stabilize things. It is an issue of supply and demand we have the demand forex you need to encourage the supply rather than chase local business which is reacting to the situation.
    These issues will settle over time !

  • Milton Moyo

    l agree with you eliasha coz the plans should have been crafted before then immediate implementation of those policies .

  • Masimba Musodza

    There is only one thing the Government needs to do, and that is open up the business environment and take a back seat. Scrap all the protectionist laws that see the State spend millions of taxpayer’s money persecuting the cross-border traders who offer real competition to the retail cartels. Recognise that these cross-border traders are not “unemployed”, slap them with tax numbers. They would be happy to pay fair taxes. Let the retail cartels survive in a really competitive environment. Prices of everything will go down inside of a week, people will have more money to spend and that will grow the economy.

  • Buck Rogers

    Zimra is currently using a Tariff Schedule with tariff’s that were revisited time and again for adjustment during the ZIM Dollar era and the values raise considerably.

    This same Schedule however is in place today. even though we have been stable USD currency. So up until now this Tariff Schedule led to an expensive economy in USD.

    For example, most small items being processed are charged with ZIMRA’s preferred Tariff “9809.0090 Other” which carries a 40% duty rate.

    Now with a unstable Bond Note, actual inflation has started again.