Government has reiterated its warning that it might have to resort to revoking licences for businesses that continue to wantonly increase prices.
Addressing members of the media on Thursday, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Minister Mike Bimha said Government will act on businesses that are involved in unjustified price increases, particularly involving basic commodities.
“I call on these players to desist from the malpractice and join others who are complying. I have issued a notice before that those who do not comply risk having their operating licenses withdrawn and Government will not hesitate to take these measures”, he said.
The minister said the government is currently engaging with various players in the production sector to ensure and maintain product availability in shops. Last week the ministry had a dialogue with the bakers which saw bread prices being reversed to the old regime of $1 after a long consultative meeting.
“Government continues to be very much concerned about the general increases of prices of essential products, which necessitated urgent meetings with various sector players during the past few weeks, including the recent meeting between my ministry, bakery and meat industries”, said the minister.
Minister Bimha said that in the meantime his ministry is engaging with various stakeholders including the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and the Competition and Tariffs Commission to carry out a survey on the availability of essential products and to ensure that all players are complying in adjusting the prices of goods downwards.
“I have in the meantime, instructed the Competition and Tariff Commission to urgently look at possible collusion on pricing by the players in the industry.
“The National Competitiveness Commission is already working with stakeholders on the cost build-up in the value chains of essential products”, said the minister.
Minister Bimha also called upon local producers to desist from relying on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for foreign currency, urging producers to generate their own currency by increasing exports.
“We should invest in industries like agriculture so that we do not have to rely on RBZ for forex to import necessary raw materials”, he said.
Meanwhile at the swearing in ceremony of the country’s new vice presidents, President Emmerson Mnangagwa called for collective efforts between the Government and producers to address the rapid price increases in basic goods.
Over the past week, some basic goods recorded a significant increase in prices with some commodities being unavailable in the market.