Government dodges price controls

By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government says it will not be tempted to decree a price reduction on goods and services in a country that has recently been witnessing sharp price hikes on most commodities.

This was said by Zanu PF spokesperson and acting information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo (pictured) while addressing journalists during Wednesday’s politburo meeting that was chaired by Mnangagwa.

Government, under then President Robert Mugabe 2007 issued a price freeze that triggered massive shortages of basic commodities on supermarket shelves.

The goods resurfaced on the black market calling for high prices with some being sold in US dollars.

Current Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu headed the Industry and International Trade Ministry which presided over the disastrous policy.

With memories of the catastrophe still fresh in the minds of the current government, the Zanu PF led administration has said it will not tamper with market prices as this was likely to negatively impact on the economy.

“We shall continuously monitor the situation hoping that we can further see some reductions when the economy improves. There have been some noticeable reductions of some basic commodities, but as the economy improves more reductions are expected. The issue of foreign currency shortages must be viewed as a business mandate and not just as a responsibility of Government. We don’t intend, of course, to tamper with market prices as this may cause unnecessary distortions in the economy,” Moyo said.

Manufacturers and retailers say the price increases were being triggered by scarce hard currency which allows them to purchase essential raw material from outside.

The increases are further caused by a distorted pricing regime in the country which often sees businesses charging different prices for the same product depending on method of payment.

Electronic transfers often demand higher prices as businesses say the price of obtaining foreign currency from the black market is high.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa