Government develops National Price Index

Staff Reporter

Following the upsurge of prices due to the manipulation of the foreign exchange, Government has developed a National Price Index (NPI) to curb the practice of overpricing and forward pricing.

In a press statement yesterday, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube said the NPI was part of the Value for Money (VFM) which was launched in August 2022 and  aimed at plugging loopholes in the existing procurement systems.

“Observations from the reviews conducted by Treasury revealed that overpricing and forward pricing has been a rampant practise across Public Sector contracts. In this regard, under the VFM exercise, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been tasked to mainstream due diligence processes aimed at plugging loopholes in the existing procurement systems. To this effect, Government has registered significant savings in expenditure amounting close to half a trillion Zimbabwe dollars, thus providing the leverage to channel more resources towards capital expenditure.

“Treasury has developed a National Price Index to guide all Public Sector institutions on the price ceilings in the various procurement categories and to date, three categories have been issued relating to Hotels and Conferencing Facilities, groceries and office provisions and stationery products and paper raw materials,” said Minister Ncube.

Additionally, following the Ministry’s public communication on the blacklisting of companies involved in illegal activities in the black market, Prof Ncube said that ZIMRA and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) were now conducting tax audits and assessments on large transactions.

“ZIMRA is now conducting tax audits and assessments, checking for the full tax compliances of all large transactions. At the same time, continuous strict monitoring by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on all transactions these companies undertake has also been instituted,” said Prof Ncube.

Furthermore, Prof Ncube also urged public officials to exercise due care in undertaking procurement processes and said that officials found to be complicit would be charged with financial misconduct and would have to restitute Government where losses incurred.