Government meets with the business sector

By Rudo Saungweme

The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu yesterday met the various value chain players to discuss the causes of price discrepancies in the value chains with a view to proffering some solutions to the challenge.

Addressing the business sector during the meeting, Minister Ndlovu said, “Our meeting is inspired by the concern over prices that have continued to rise. It is important to note that Government is not oblivious of the upward pressure on prices due to some cost push factors. It is thus important that we look at the issue holistically so that we bring in sanity in our pricing.

“The Ministry felt that there is need to meet the various value chain players and interrogate and understand the causes of price discrepancies in the value chains in order to proffer some solutions to the pricing and availability issue that is facing the country.”

Minister Ndlovu proposed the way forward for discussion that include Government’s commitment through the Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe to continue supporting the productive sector through foreign currency allocation  to ensure adequate stock for the upcoming season and at the same time avoiding loss of jobs. He said more resources would be channelled towards primary production particularly agriculture. The third proposed way forward is for the National Competitive Commission to interrogate cost build up from the manufacturer through a value chain analysis and that manufacturers and service providers publicise and display recommended retail prices on all goods and services.

The price distortions in the country sprouted after the introduction of a 2 percent tax on electronic transfer by Minister of Finance and Economic Development on 1 0ctober 2018. Retailers indicated that the introduction of a 2 percent tax resulted in the increase of cost production which was passed to them by manufacturers and subsequently passed to the consumers.

In some instances, prices had to increase by more than one hundred percent with some retail shops engaging in a three tier pricing. Pharmacies are also demanding payment in United States Dollar and when they accept other forms of payment, the prices will be too high.