In his his maiden radio interview with Capitalk 100 FM, broadcasted recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country has witnessed price increases by some unscrupulous businesspeople who are profiteering at the expense of the public.
“There is an issue of basic commodities that we use every day. These had been going up each day and we called the businesspeople to discuss this and they agreed to reduce prices but it seems they have started again,” he said.
Mnangagwa ruled out price controls in favour of market forces to influence the prices of commodities, but blamed business for dancing to the tune of market forces in order to survive.
“For the economy to grow we must not prescribe prices for goods, market forces must determine the prices, we need competition,…,” he said.
Be that as it may, the interview have since been described by some as a dull one, and failed to live to its biling, they claim the anchor seemed afraid to ask real issues affecting businesses, workers and the generality of Zimbabweans.
They say the President could have been put to task on issues like corruption, and his reluctance to deal with the scourge.
Market watchers maintain that it is misguided for Mnangagwa to blame business who are to the greater extent hiking prices not for sabotage but as a survival strategy, in line with the market forces.
Mnangagwa’s sentiments were also exhibited by his proxy Dexter Nduna in parliament recently, when he said companies should be investigated on how they are reaching about their selling prices.
Nduna said it was alarming by the way the prices of basic necessities are sky rocketing and keep changing each day.
“For instance, one day a two litres bottle of cooking oil was RTGS $22, the next day it is at RTGS $30. It is at this price in renowned big departmental shops like OK and TM.
“However, I ask that they produced empirical scientific evidence as to how they are arriving at these prices if they are not being directed by speculative tendencies or petty party political machinations.
“We recently debated the Consumer Protection Bill. Speculators out there who we tried to outlaw using the Consumer Protection Bill should be nabbed immediately.
“We should not be held at ransom by people who just arrive at a figure of 1:9 versus the greenback or the US$ without any knowledge and anything to suggest what it is that they are bench marking on which is the cause of the sky rocketing of these prices,” he added.
He called upon the other arms or captains of industry to self censor their own, not price controls but making sure that they arrest the un-wanton price increases by arresting those that are causing those price increases, those businesses.
“If they do not produce empirical and scientific evidence as to how they have arrived at these prices that are upping everyday, they should be arrested immediately by their own,” he suggested.
Nduna said a thief should be sent to catch a thief particularly on issues and basic necessities that have raw materials produced here in Zimbabwe using local currency and labour whose labour is being paid by local RTGS$.
He asked the Speaker of Parliament to make a ruling imploring the Minister of Industry and Commerce to bring a ministerial statement explaining what is warranting the price hikes, to which the Speaker said will do so.
Meanwhile, former Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, says it will be impossible to turn around this economy without resolution of the political crises, adding that no amount of lies and tampering will alter this fundamental fact.
“The sooner the cartels , muppets and mafia mis-running this country understand this the better,” he says.
Biti further predicts that by August 2019 the RTGS$ will trade 15:1 to the US$ as there is no production on the ground, yet consumption levels are huge and rising. He adds that introducing new currency is not the answer, as long as fundamentals are not attended to.
Renowned economist Prof Steve Hanke concludes concurs saying Zimbabwe has hyperinflated twice since the turn of the century. “Without a currency board or full dollarization, Zimbabwe will have a unending cycle of worthless currencies and high inflation,” underwrites Prof Hanke.