Black market fuelling price hikes-Pres Mnangagwa

Staff Reporter

The pegging of prices by businesses using the black market rate is fuelling unnecessary price hikes and consequently distorting and eroding the economic gains that have been achieved to date.

This was said yesterday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa during a meeting with the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) and business leaders in the Private Sector Forum.

President Mnangagwa said although the manufacturing sector has improved immensely due to positive government policies and interventions, pegging of prices using the parallel market rate was still a concern.

“Of late, I have noted that the manufacturing of basic commodities such as cooking oil and bread has been stable owing to Government’s continued prioritisation of foreign currency allocation for the import of crude soya bean oil and wheat. This has included medical drugs and other essential products and services. However, the pricing of these commodities is getting beyond the reach of the generality of our communities, as they are being pegged against the parallel foreign currency exchange rate. We cannot have our economy being determined and dominated by speculators,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President added that the government would deliberately continue prioritising and supporting local manufacturers through supply side interventions. He further said that the 2021/2022 National Budget had come up with interventions that sought to cushion Zimbabweans to ensure access to social protection.

President Mnangagwa said economic development could only be achieved when everyone pulls in one direction, including the private sector.

“As you are aware, our Vision (2030) will be attained through the implementation of three development frameworks, namely: the Transitional Stabilisation Plan 2018-2020; and two consecutive National Development Strategies covering 2021-2025 and 2026-2030.

“This is a trajectory we must traverse together, with the full participation of us all. It is upon this background that I found it fitting that we meet as Government, the Presidential Advisory Council and representative of business as represented by members of the Private Sector Forum, to reaffirm our commitment to our national vision and shared course,” said the President.

President Mnangagwa further said that the government was optimistic of a sustainable and stable future socio-economic outlook. He however, bemoaned the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has hampered developmental programmes in the country.

“It is critical, however, that we strengthen our resolve to work together through various forms of engagement and consultation to arrive at shared and inclusive decisions. This was always my desire from the onset. Regrettably, the COVID-19 pandemic placed us in an environment where we failed to meet. Following the national vaccination programme, Government is now better placed to undertake stakeholder consultations at regular intervals,” added the President.

Yesterday’s meeting was a platform for Government, the private sector and the PAC to look at the business environment in the country, and seek ways to accelerate economic growth for the country to attain the 2030 Vision.