Chiwenga to lead crackdown on prices

Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga will lead a Zanu PF politburo taskforce to deal with price increases and multiple pricing structures as President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned stern action against “economic saboteurs”.

BY Everson Mushava

Addressing journalists after yesterday’s politburo meeting at the Zanu PF headquarters, party spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, said several measures had been put in place to deal with pricing problems and these would be announced soon.

“The politburo discussed the issue of rampant price increases and has identified various strategies to curtail this phenomenon,” he said.

“In his discussion, President Mnangagwa warned economic saboteurs that their days are numbered. The party is aware of those who want to cause confusion and inflict economic pain on our people. The issue of the three-tier pricing system was also discussed and measures to curb this will be announced in due course.”

Moyo said a politburo ad hoc committee has been put in place to deal with these issues and would be chaired by Chiwenga.

Mnangagwa took over from former President Robert Mugabe late last year courtesy of a military intervention codenamed Operation Restore Legacy. However, despite hope of economic revival, the government has been met by a wave of price increases.

Moyo said Zanu PF secretary for indigenisation and economic affairs, Mike Bimha, reported to the politburo that there were sudden price increases last year, which peaked around September 2017.

“Social media, of course, also contributed to the problem through falsehoods. This resulted in retailers randomly increasing their prices,” he said.

“There is need for increased production and capacity utilisation. There is also need for retooling and new investment in the country. Bimha also stated that 14 items were removed from the list of Statutory Instrument (SI) 64, these include milk, cooking oil, rice, meat and soap, among others. This was to allow people to import these goods on their own at a cheaper price.”

SI64 was introduced in 2016 to protect local producers from an influx of cheap products from South Africa, the regional economic powerhouse.

Moyo also said Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri gave an assurance that there was sufficient maize in the country although there was need to top up on wheat stocks. Mnangagwa also called on his party to work hard in preparation for elections this year.

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