Shops lose li­cences over prices

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Lincoln Towindo/De­bra Matabvu Harare Bu­reau

ZIM­BABWE will not ex­pe­ri­ence ba­sic com­mod­ity short­ages as Gov­ern­ment has ac­ti­vated var­i­ous pro­duc­tion stim­u­lants, prin­ci­pally pri­ori­tis­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers in for­eign currency pro­vi­sion, a Cabi­net min­is­ter has said.

So­cial me­dia abusers will also be ac­tively tracked to thwart their in­sid­i­ous habit of gen­er­at­ing false­hoods to cause pub­lic alarm and dis­obe­di­ence. In ad­di­tion, re­tail­ers have ap­proached Gov­ern­ment to with­draw li­cences of their peers who fla­grantly hike prices and en­gage in other un­eth­i­cal business prac­tices.

These in­ter­ven­tions are con­tained in the first Spe­cial Cabi­net Com­mit­tee on Prices Report that Cabi­net re­ceived last week and will be tabled be­fore Par­lia­ment this week. The report, a cul­mi­na­tion of coun­try­wide in­ves­ti­ga­tions and anal­y­sis of last Septem­ber’s price spi­rals, also rec­om­mends pub­lish­ing stip­u­lated ba­sic com­mod­ity prices reg­u­larly.

In an in­ter­view with our Harare Bu­reau last week, In­dus­try and Com­merce Min­is­ter Dr Mike Bimha, who chairs the Spe­cial Com­mit­tee, said, “What we have done now is that the Re­serve Bank of Zim­babwe has pro­vided enough for­eign currency to oil ex­pressers to im­port the raw ma­te­rial that we need to go right through the fes­tive sea­son. How­ever, we con­tinue to mon­i­tor their pro­duc­tions and sup­plies. In the event of any gap be­tween de­mand and sup­ply, we will al­low im­por­ta­tion of that prod­uct so that we don’t ex­pe­ri­ence short­ages.

“Once we be­lieve that lo­cal pro­duc­ers have prod­ucts that they are un­able to make to meet de­mand; we will al­low the im­por­ta­tion of those prod­ucts. But we are happy that the RBZ has pro­vided forex to en­able oil ex­pressers to im­port crude oil to con­vert into cook­ing oil.’

Dr Bimha said the com­mit­tee’s coun­try­wide sur­vey es­tab­lished that prices of most goods have re­ceded to preSeptem­ber 23 lev­els. He, how­ever, noted that a few in­tran­si­gent prof­i­teer­ing.

“The report from the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee gen­er­ally calls for con­tin­u­ous en­gage­ment, and en­sur­ing that we make sure that there is con­sis­tent sup­ply. We are con­fi­dent that the sup­ply side is cov­ered, but peo­ple re­acted to un­sub­stan­ti­ated so­cial me­dia re­ports. Again, we have to deal with so­cial me­dia, in­clud­ing us­ing it to en­sure that peo­ple know the truth. Be­cause we can­not say all news on so­cial me­dia is false, we can, in fact, har­ness it to tell the true story.”

Dr Bimha also said: “The new Min­istry of Cy­ber Se­cu­rity will ac­tu­ally help us give cor­rect in­for­ma­tion to con­sumers so that they know ex­actly what is tak­ing place in terms of sup­ply and prices, among other things. We be­lieve if we com­mu­ni­cate the right kind of in­for­ma­tion ad­e­quately, we won’t have the prob­lems that we faced.”

Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe Re­tail­ers pres­i­dent Mr Den­ford Mu­tashu said they want li­cences of un­scrupu­lous re­tail­ers re­voked.

“Presently, we are go­ing around not­ing the names of re­tail­ers charg­ing spec­u­la­tive prices, and we have for­warded their names to Gov­ern­ment and the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit of the RBZ. Though we are en­gag­ing, we have only sent names of those re­tail­ers we felt were not com­ply­ing. We went to Man­i­ca­land, Masvingo, Mid­lands, Mashona­land Cen­tral and Mashona­land East, and many re­tail­ers were com­ply­ing. We do not have ar­rest­ing pow­ers our­selves, but we are work­ing with Gov­ern­ment. We are con­sid­er­ing dras­tic ac­tion, in­clud­ing even with­draw­ing their li­cences. As a na­tion, we need to get to a stage where we call a spade a

spade.” re­tail­ers were still

Min­is­ter Mike Bimha

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