Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa yesterday warned businesses against relentless price increases, saying the Government will be forced to take action against such practices.
He said a meeting will be held next week between the Government and business to find ways of resolving unwarranted price increases.
The President also warned striking doctors, who have been absconding from duty for nearly two months, and said Government was aware of external forces propping up their illegal industrial action.
He was speaking while addressing the first edition of the Rural District Councillors Meeting, where he touched on welfare issues affecting the generality of the population.
“Wherever I am going these days, people are complaining about the ever-increasing prices of basic commodities, saying you promised to whip such business into line. So where is that whip?
“As a father, you don’t discipline your children every time they do something wrong, but just warn before taking any action.
“However, I think we have reached a point where action has to be taken because we don’t see any reason why there is this continuous rise in prices.”
President Mnangagwa said the meeting with the business community, being organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, will give the Government an opportunity to appreciate their challenges.
He said the Government secured funding for the establishment of Silo Shops, mainly in rural areas where the most vulnerable live.
“We now have the funding and we have identified seven commodities that would be subsidised,” said President Mnangagwa.
“These include mealie-meal, salt, sugar and cooking oil, among others. These shops target the rural populace who are facing the most difficulties.”
On the doctors’ strike, President
Mnangagwa said Government was aware that some doctors were working with external forces to destabilise the health sector.
“Two months ago, we raised their salaries and they came back again saying the value of the money had been eroded and we offered them a 30 percent increase which they rejected and we increased it to 60 percent which they rejected again,” he said.
“After going through what is happening, we have discovered that there are a few individuals who are getting outside influence and then coming to influence others to continue with the strike. But what we are saying to the doctors is that you are Zimbabweans and the sick people are also Zimbabweans.
“There is no country that doesn’t have problems, so we should sit down and talk while you are at work. But if you insist on being stubborn, we will see where it will get you to. You might think what you are doing is right, but we will see what will happen at the end.”
The doctors have refused to go work even after the Labour Court ruled that their actions were illegal.
President Mnangagwa told the gathering that he will launch a further 100 Zupco buses before the end of this month, as Government continues to work towards cushioning citizens from high transport costs.
“I will be launching these (100 buses) before the end of the month and I have agreed with the Minister (of Local Government Cde July Moyo) that the distribution be done with a bias towards rural areas this time,” he said.
“I think we have done a bit for the urban areas.”