PRESIDENT Mnangagwa and senior Government officials had a candid talk with business at State House on Monday.
The indaba was the first of its kind ever since the market was rocked by man-made disturbances characterised by, among other shenanigans, the sudden acute shortage of fuel and basic commodities from cooking oil to bread, sugar and soap, among others.
In their wisdom or lack of it, Zimbabweans pressed the panic button, besieged major supermarkets and “looted” everything from the shelves.
The chaos on the market was despite the fact that Government was feeding the manufacturing sector with foreign currency to import essential raw materials.
For one reason or the other, the products were not finding their way into supermarkets, but were abundantly available on the black market where they were being sold at ludicrous prices.
This confirmed the market had deliberately gone insane hence the timely intervention by President Mnangagwa — not just by opening up the borders for imports — but through even engagement with captains of industry and commerce. He has always been a listening President and so has been his Government.
We applaud President Mnangagwa for finding time to interact with business. We also thank business for seeing value in communication.
We must, as a nation, embrace a culture of engagement for we are all Zimbabweans and call no other land our home. When the economy sneezes, we all catch a cold!
We, however, note with regret Mr President, the unpatriotic and unethical practice by some businesses who by the day fake the love for the country and its welfare while by the night they seek its demise.
Some business, who have been getting foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) were offloading their products on the black market in the dead of the night while starving supermarkets.
The black market paid them in cash, so we hear and they would buy foreign currency on the black market. We are reliably informed that while supermarkets were starving for restock, tuck shops in down town Harare were being overfed by supplies of things like cooking oil, soaps and sugar.
These tuck shops still exist and are mainly concentrated along Leopold Takawira as one heads Mbare.
The tuck shop owners, we are reliably informed, sell their products for cash. They sell the cash at 12 percent to desperate citizens and the cycles goes on.
Mr President the nation does not deserve these unprincipled elements masquerading as business people running the tuck shops.
We do not even need the tuck shops. They do not benefit anyone. They do not pay tax to Treasury and must be urgently shut down so that goods find their way into the official market.
Equally, it is our understanding that some wholesalers in the same area had joined the bandwagon.
They are supplied goods by manufacturers at say $30 a carton and they double the price for whatever reason. This demon must be exorcised. How? Do we need wholesalers in a situation like we are in or we cut short the chain by letting manufacturers sell directly to supermarkets?
The time to build our Zimbabwe is now and those bent on destroying it must be vanquished before they shake its foundations.