ED reads riot act to business

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and service chiefs inspect a guard of honour mounted for them at the National Sports Stadium in Harare to mark the country’s 39th Independence Day celebrations

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

A FIGHT looms between government and business over a new wave of price hikes, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in his Independence Day speech yesterday described as unethical, unpatriotic and inhumane.

Mnangagwa warned business that the price hikes will be dealt with as his government seeks to forcibly restore the purchasing power of workers’ salaries eroded by rampaging inflation.

“Government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increases of prices which have brought about untold suffering to the people. This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue which the Second Republic has espoused. Government remains determined to restore the purchasing power of all workers,” Mnangagwa said.

Government recently floated the real time gross settlement dollars (ZWL$) rated against the United States dollars, removing an artificial 1:1 exchange ratio to allow free trade of the currency on the formal market.

The local currency has been taking a beating both on the interbank market where it closed the week on US$1:ZWL$3,2 and the black market at 1:5. This has pushed prices of basic commodities through the roof, eroding disposable incomes.

Mnangagwa’s government has threatened to introduce “people’s shops”– common in struggling communist countries – small-scale bakeries and whipping systems to bring the prices in tandem with the poor salaries workers are forced to take home.

“Wheat supplies are set to improve, while the establishment of small-scale bakeries will be facilitated to enhance more affordable bread prices. Thesetting up of Silo Foods Company will further see increased availability and affordability of many basic commodities throughout the country,” he said.

Former President Robert Mugabe tried to whip businesses into reducing prices at the height of inflation, but failed to win the battle as shop shelves ran empty and basic commodities were traded on the black market.

Zimbabwe, already facing an economic meltdown is suffering acute fuel shortages and could face a new wave of price increases as the ZWL$ continues to lose value, making the current fuel prices unsustainable. Mnangagwa said his government had an alternative plan to circumvent the challenges.

“In the fuel sector, we are adopting long-term strategies to stabilise both the availability and pricing of the product.

“The introduction of a market-based exchange rate system is expected to stabilise the economy, in the long run,” he said.

Facing a serious food shortage owing to a drought, Mnangagwa assured the nation that strategic food reserves will be deployed to ensure that all Zimbabweans are fed and will not go hungry.

“As a result of this year’s drought, considerable quantities of grain in our strategic grain reserves will be availed so that no-one dies from hunger,” he said.

The speech delivered under heavy rains which pounded Harare, covered all sectors of the troubled economy, politics, sport and business.

Soldiers, police, prison guards and airforce personnel who mounted the independence guard of honour endured almost two hours of heavy rain and left the field soaked to the kilt.

8 Comments

  1. You have got blinkers mr president. Our economy is agro based. Bring back the competent and hardworking farmers. The lazy black farmers are doing completely nothing. I DO NOT SEE ANY IMPROVEMENT IN ECONOMY AS LONG AS NOTHING IS PRODUCED ON THE FARMS. REMOVE THE INCOMPETENT FARMERS AND INSURE THAT, THOSE WHO HAVE THE FARMS ARE NOT FORMALLY EMPLOYED. IF YOU WANT TO BE A FARMER, QUIT YOUR FORMAL JOBS AND BE ON THE FARM 24/7.

    1. matsai professor

      nacido rico skin colour doesnt farm

    2. AT INDEPENDENCE agro was around 10 % of gdp.
      FACT, not our fault you haven’t been educated.
      Thus there is a need for businesses to reemerge.

      We had gguge textile exports to the EU.

      although perfectly legal they closed down textile bulinesses in the EU.

      The EU responded with ESAP removing govt fsrming subsidy on cotton promting its export so all textile industry closed including busiunesses relating to same.

      Propaganda says it was Mugabe, ask the industry – it was deliberate economic sabotage by the EU.

      Economic sabotage has been implimrented since then.

      We are thec only country in southern Africa with US democracy and the gullible haven’t noticed.

      The US as they hsve dpone in other third world countries promoting wars and destabilising tried to force a government of their choice easily msnipulated on us.

      So we vote for a president as well as an MP as done stupidly in the US. Si with a majority Zanu in parliament they think an opposition president can rule as they do in the US and create a total shutdown as very stupid and accepted by the fools and the gullible.
      Then we hacv e the price increases at a meeting an economist explasinedhow it would br done as the way to win an undemocratic election was the US way. If onecshop increased prices customers would go elsewhere so it has to be organised with US funding so that all incresase togetyher by their orgsnisation with US guarantees. Then the health sector then strikes and inflation.
      Economic sabotage opposition saying is could be fixed immediately they were in government.
      A clear admission of guilt.
      So should the country be governed by US trained terrorists and we become a US colony or not that is the question.
      If the west stopped promoting economic sabotage life could be back to normal in a week. Munangagwa is too soft medication prices are killing people he should go pharmacy to pharmacy and where unreasonable prices are found take the pharmacist around the back of his shop and shop him in self defense saving hundreds of innocent lives who cannot afford medicines. Prices of medicines would reduce in a day.
      economic sabotage is a terrorist action threat those involved as terrorists and shoot them in defence of our country.

  2. But arent these price hikes triggered by the ill-advised 150% fuel price hike

    1. maiti bond haisi mari

      werent you the same people who wer saying that the bond note hazvina kuenzana ne usd? mairamba 1:1 now makuchema bcz market forces are sayin1:5 kkk haya

  3. Someone increases fuel by 150% and regards himself patriotic. Businesses follow suit and increase prices in shops and are now labelled unpatriotic, inhumane and all sorts of names. What a shame !!! Ndimi makazvitanga handei tione!!!

  4. I hope Mr Mnangagewa will appreciate that crazy price hikes are as barbaric as FUEL HIKING! There is noThere is no less need to control prices as there is to control fuel!!!

  5. ED has to be reminded that, trust between business and government (and citizenry) is very crucial, trust based on open consultation direct engagement is non-existent at the moment. Most businesses right now are directly linked to the regime where profiteering is the name of the game we must not read much into ED’s purported threats. Goods and services price increase is directly linked to the government’s market based exchange system, only works better if other basic fundamentals are also met at the same time. The economic rot is self-inflicted from day one in 1980, some critics on this platform are misinformed. If the zanupf regime had embraced the early 80s economic blue-prints profered by the international community the economic rot would have been avoided. The irony is the government’s current efforts at economic turn-around are copy and paste from the 80s SAP and ESAP programmes.

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