BY OBEY MANAYITI
FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube yesterday pleaded with Zimbabweans to be patient with the government’s reform programme in the face of the rising cost of living, saying the mess will be sorted in time.
A wave of price increases for basic commodities hit consumers in the past two weeks, and in an interview yesterday, during the 39th Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare, Ncube said the cause of the sharp price increases was a puzzle for government.
“To those who are raising prices, I say that it is unjustified. This kind of profiteering is unnecessary. It is not obvious to us on what prompted it. So really, they must back off, especially the price of bread, meat and maize which are staple foods for our people,” Ncube said.
“The price hikes are unjustified. To the citizens, I say be patient, Rome was not built in one day. We don’t expect positive changes tomorrow or next week or next month, it takes time and they must be patient with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP),” he added.
The TSP was launched in October last year. Ncube said government was counting on several sectors, among them mining and tourism, to ease the economic pressure.
“We have to make sure that investors put more money into our mining sector, with different policies for different sectors such as the diamond, platinum and so forth. So we expect this sector to generate jobs and investment of over $8 billion.
“The tourism sector that has been highlighted by His Excellency today will go a long way to create jobs, both in terms of local visitors and international visitors. We are ranked highly in the world because of the quality of our sustainable tourism,” he said.
Ncube said there were various infrastructural projects that are expected to drive the economic growth, going forward.
He said Zimbabwe was engaging all stakeholders over compensating white farmers, but said the government had a plan to raise the money for the programme.
Ncube said the farmers and government would negotiate to come up with an agreement that is palatable to all parties.