INDUSTRY, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister Mike Bimha says he is saddened by persistent price increases obtaining in the country, despite several recommendations done by an interministerial task force to resolve the problem.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Speaking at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce business review conference yesterday, Bimha urged industry players to desist from unwarranted price hikes.
“This conference comes on the backdrop of the recent increases in prices of basic commodities following the events of September 23, 2017. I should say the events shocked the nation and we are still having some aftershocks of the unfortunate price hikes. The setting up of an inter-ministerial task force came up with several recommendations aimed at addressing the scourge of price increases. However, I am disappointed that prices continue to go up,” he said.
Prices of basic commodities hiked by more than 50% on September 22, with social media messages warning of shortages similar to what happened in 2008.
This forced government to monitor prices on 16 basic commodities, raising fears it could be forced to introduce price controls, which saw basic commodities disappearing from the shelves in supermarkets.
Bimha said his ministry was also developing Pharmaceutical and Motor Industry policies, to add to a plethora of other measures meant to promote growth in the manufacturing
He said the formulation of the new national trade policy and national export strategy 2018-2022 was currently underway to facilitate the increase of annual industry exports by 10%.
Bimha said the ministry was mobilising resources through the African Development Bank Fund for Africa Private Sector Assistance Support to beef and the leather value chain and the Pillar 2 transition facility project worth $2,3 million was currently being implemented.
“The ministry, in collaboration with the private sector, continues to accelerate the implementation of value chain programmes in agro-processing, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, beef and leather, cotton to clothing among other sectors, This is in line with the African Union,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy director William Kavila said premiums on cash on the black market were going down with the coming in of the new dispensation — a sign of confidence on the new political leadership.
He also dismissed allegations that the apex bank was in the habit of dishing cash on the black market.
“I have heard some people saying RBZ is putting money into the black market. They were asking that where does the clean notes found in the black market were coming from,” Kavila said.
“The RBZ does not put money into the black market. It’s unethical. As you know, our governor is a devout Christian. As the Bank, we don’t deal with the black market. It’s illegal.”