Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has embarked on a price monitoring system along the production chain, from manufacturers to retailers, as part of measures to flush out economic saboteurs. It also resolved that manufacturers and suppliers of basic commodities and medical drugs should revert to the pricing system that recognises the guaranteed convertibility of bond notes and RTGS balances to the US dollars on a 1:1 ratio.
Briefing journalists at a joint Press conference after a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said action will be taken against saboteurs.
“Cabinet resolved that action be taken against those value chain players found to be fuelling unjustified price increases, thereby imposing hardship on the citizens for wanton profiteering,” she said.
Clarifying the same issue, Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said the culprits risk withdrawal of the central bank’s foreign currency support, among other penalties.
Minister Ndlovu said Government was concerned with the sad developments that have seen consumers being charged exorbitant prices for medication and other basic commodities in the past two weeks.
“We have received support from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the support is mainly going to manufacturers. We met the stakeholders and they have given us assurances that starting from today, there will be adequate stocks. We are monitoring that.
“We are also monitoring prices, especially those entities that have received foreign currency support.
“There is a peer monitoring system among suppliers and retailers. “We will be able to track where the sources of price increases are. We want to urge those who are profiteering that we will take measures against them.
“In terms of the peer review system, we will start by cautioning the deviants and it might end in the withdrawal of the support that the RBZ is giving to most of the entities.
“We want to track the source of the increases and establish the stage at which the prices are being hiked and the culprits thereof,” he said.
Government met manufacturers and other stakeholders, who benefit from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s foreign currency facility and agreed that they should charge reasonable prices in bond notes and bank transfer modes.
This followed the release of substantial amounts of foreign currency to the industry for imports to ensure normal supplies.
The central bank recently released $41 million for fuel, $6 million for fertilisers and chemicals, $6,7 million for drugs and medication, $5 million for cooking oil, among other allocations.
Cabinet urged citizens not to hoard basic commodities and fuel saying measures taken by Government to boost the products’ availability were paying off.
It also reiterated that the operation of foreign currency accounts announced in the recent monetary statement relates to all companies, individuals and entities.