By Nokuthaba Nkomo
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu has urged businesses and retailers to take heed of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call to reduce prices.
On Saturday, Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters at a “Thank you” rally in Murombedzi that danger is drawing closer to businesses who keep hiking prices unnecessarily as their licences will be withdrawn.
He specifically urged pharmacies to stop asking customers to pay in US dollars. Mnangagwa threatened that severe consequences will be suffered by those who do not want to listen to the government’s warnings as they have been warned.
Mutashu said the president’s call should be taken seriously as it is genuine. He said as CZR they believe that those who want to hike prices should have a good explanation or otherwise face the consequences.
“If anyone is genuinely proved to be profiteering or engaging in rent-seeking behaviour they will have to explain their actions or face the consequences. CZR is for responsible and ethical business contact and engages, accordingly whenever need arises especially on policy issues.
“Business should take heed of the President’s call and protect consumers,” the CZR president said.
This comes as Zimbabwe remains in the grip of a huge economic crisis which has seen the country slipping back to frightening levels similar to the 2008 situation.
The country has been experiencing acute shortages of foreign currency which triggered shocking price hikes and shortages of basic commodities.
Mutashu, however, last week told the Daily News that the situation is expected to normalise during the festive season as supplies were improving and customers had toned down on hoarding goods that were reportedly in short supply.
“Prices of basic commodities have also stabilised temporarily owing to low customer demand as people have stocks that they bought during the panic buying period. Prices should eventually fall further down from our projections,” Mutashu said.
Despite this announcement, Zimbabweans fear prices might continue increasing following Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube’s budget presentation in which excise duty on fuel was increased with effect from December 1. DailyNews