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Govt to keep eye on prices

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE government says all goods produced locally will now be monitored for price adjustments to make sure producers don’t profiteer at the expense of consumers.

Industry and International Trade minister Samuel Mumbengegwi last week said the move was being undertaken to ensure that producers were not profiteering at the expense of consumers.

“All goods that are produced locally are now being monitored for pricing because some firms here believe that if they do not make a profit of 600% then they are not making anything,” he said.

“I have heard some arguments that some manufacturers’ machines are being affected by wear and tear but that’s useless. All goods are now permanently being monitored for price adjustments. In short, manufacturers want to benefit at the expense of consumers.”

Maize meal, flour and agricultural products are already being monitored.

Government in 2002 introduced price controls which led to massive shortages of most basic commodities which could only be found on the black market.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe spokesperson, Tonderai Mukeredzi, said as a consumer watchdog they welcomed government’s decision, but warned that the monitoring should not be done arbitrarily otherwise it would lead to product shortages.

Mumbengegwi also attacked the local business community’s continued export of raw materials without adding value to them, saying this undermined the country’s export potential.

“For example, of all our cotton production, only 25% is processed locally and the rest is exported as raw lint, then locally there is nothing to produce,” Mumbengegwi said.

“Can you go into a shop and buy a 100% cotton shirt today? No you cannot. So locally there is a permanent scarcity of cotton. At this rate some people will go naked.

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