THE government’s decision to strike off portions of Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017 to increase the flow of basic goods into the market ahead of the festive season and ease pressure on foreign currency demand on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is a most welcome development.
The three-tier pricing system we had just started witnessing is untenable. Perhaps, the next big thing to happen in the country is to ensure business or among them unscrupulous business operators desist from opportunism, whereby they now punish the consumer by pegging their goods too high for the ordinary citizen.
Of late, access to basic commodities such as cooking oil and sugar had become a nightmare for the poor majority, with retailers forced to limit the number of such goods per individual buyer, while prices have been shooting up.
While industry may feel let down by the decision, we believe it doesn’t make sense to keep the ban in place when the very products are either in short supply or the prices are beyond the reach of many.
In fact, for too long, many locally-manufactured goods have been priced exorbitantly, and the coming of competition from elsewhere should imply that we have competitive prices.
The new development will ensure that retailers are able to re-stock and ensure that people have access to these goods and clamp down on the panic buying that we have seen of late.
We, indeed, hail President Emmerson Mnangagwa for heeding the cry of the public and acting in a firm manner, dealing a heavy blow to manufacturers and other retailers who were now hiding behind a finger to wantonly increase prices based on half-truths that they were all buying their foreign currency on the black market.
This move was particularly strategic in that the festive season is around the corner and citizens want to have something to cheer about despite the economic hardships obtaining in the country.
The wave of price increases that followed the RBZ mid-term monetary statement and the introduction of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube early this month had really made life difficult for many ordinary Zimbabweans.
It is hoped that government will also see through its promise to enforce the Bank Use Promotion Act (Chapter 24:24) and end the three-tier pricing system that has hit the market, which many retailers were now taking advantage of to abuse consumers.