HomeEditorial CommentGovt must act on shortages

Govt must act on shortages


HERE is one thing that government has failed to realise, that events of the past few weeks are a sign that the economy is careering towards the swamps, again.

It is imploding, and the people responsible for giving it direction are in denial. It is slowly edging towards the upheavals that triggered the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2008.

At all costs, a sane government would avoid a repeat of those frustrating times, having understood how painful it could be to watch millions endure grinding starvation or lose savings of a lifetime.

After the first experience of 2007/08, surely, government should now understand what it means when families go hungry for many days.

It must also have by now learnt that ad hoc solutions to problems, as happened when President Emmerson Mnangagwa hit banks two weeks ago, don’t work.

We say this because it has already become clear that supermarkets, and even manufacturers, are now hiding stocks of certain basic goods.

It has not been established why they have decided to hold on to stocks now.

But in the past week, there have been pockets of shortages of the most basic commodities.

The last time such developments took place was in 2007/08, when firms were not happy with price controls.

Back then, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) raided shops, arrested chief executive and punished them for charging viable prices.

Zimbabwe, through the NIPC, was the only country on earth that was determined to destroy companies.

Today, the NIPC has been disbanded, but shops are back to the same tricks of hoarding products.

This calls for urgent, concrete steps to be made to see why they are doing this. A solution must be found on this problem in order for things to revert to normal.

The more government and business delay to address this problem the worse it becomes because consumers will be forced to hold on to their money, while the currency crushes.

In the end, the country will witness mass suffering of people in both urban and rural areas as happened before.

The Tripartite Negotiation Forum must immediately convene and address concerns from all sides.

But government must not resort to the iron hand tactics that it has previously employed. The militarised Joint Operations Command must not participate in any way in finding solutions to these economic problems.

It must stay away.

And if it does, it will only escalate an already dire crisis.

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