ZANU-PF Politburo acts on pricing madness

Jan 11, 2018

Harare – The ZANU-PF Politburo on Wednesday set up an ad-hoc committee to comprehensively look at and come  up with decisive solutions to the pricing madness afflicting the economy  that has seen prices of most basic goods shooting by up to 300 percent  in the past six months, an official has said.

Wholesalers and retailers have primarily blamed persistent foreign  currency shortages on the official market a situation they say is  forcing them to resort to the black market, for the spiraling prices.

Consumers on the other hand are convinced most retailers are simply profiteering, insisting the upward price adjustments were not justified.

The ruling party is convinced some of the challenges are being caused  by “economic saboteurs”.

ZANU-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the ruling party’s Vice  President and Second Secretary, retired General Constantino Chiwenga, was  appointed to chair the ad-hoc committee, whose other members were not  immediately named, to look at the pricing dilemma.

“The Politburo discussed the issue of rampant price increases in the  country and has identified various strategies to curtail this  phenomenon. In the discussion, His Excellency the President and First  Secretary, ED Mnangagwa, warned economic saboteurs that their days were  numbered,” Khaya Moyo said.

“The party is aware of those who want to cause confusion and inflict  economic pain on our people.”

Khaya-Moyo said the government would soon announce measures to  decisively deal with the three-tier pricing system that has become a  norm in the economy.

The system sees consumers being charged three prices for the same  commodity depending on the form of payment which ranges from United  States dollars, bond notes or wire transfer.

The decision to appoint the committee followed a presentation to the  Politburo by the party secretary for indigenisation and economic  affairs, Mike Bimha who told the meeting price increases had picked up  since September 2017.

Bimha, who is also the Minister of Industry and Commerce, told the  meeting it was imperative that local firms retooled and increased  production to deal with challenges around pricing of goods.

He said the government had since removed 14 items including milk,  cooking oil, rice, meat and soap from the list of goods restricted to  import to allow people to buy them on their own.

Meanwhile, a report to the Politburo on the state of the agriculture  sector showed that the crop situation in the country was encouraging  although there were areas in which some were showing signs of moisture  stress due to heat and scarce rains.

Committee member and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, retired Chief Air Marshall Perence Shiri told the  Politburo that the country had adequate grain reserves but noted that  there was need to boost wheat stocks.

“This is due to substantial rain damage of wheat due to late  harvesting. This season 235 000 hectares were contracted out of the  targeted 290 000 under the command agriculture programme,” Khaya Moyo  said.

The Politburo also discussed the party’s preparedness for the  forthcoming elections and its on-going restructuring exercise that will  see provincial structures holding elections soon. –  New Ziana.

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