ZANU-PF Politburo acts on pricing madness
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.