By Everson Mushava
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has threatened to come down hard on shops that are refusing to slash prices after his government last week dumped the decade-old multi-currency system and re-introduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender.
Addressing a meeting at Kondo Primary School in Chipinge, where he commissioned the rehabilitated Tanganda-Ngundu Highway on Tuesday, Mnangagwa said he was preparing punitive measures on the profiteering businesses.
“I have received reports that other shops are slashing prices. As for those that continue with the high prices, don’t buy from them,” he said.
“If there are businesspeople who are adamant not to slash prices, leave them alone. We have shops of those who have slashed the prices, just go and buy there. We are planning a package for those who are resisting slashing of prices. Their whip is being prepared nicely. It is being sun-roasted and hardened by salt. Their time will come.”
Mnangagwa last week introduced Statutory Instrument 142 which reintroduced the Zimdollar as the sole currency for internal trade, dumping the multi-currency system introduced a decade ago to arrest world-record inflation of 2008.
The Zimdollar return has triggered an outcry, with most people fearing it would take the country back to the 2008 hyperinflation era characterised by shortages of basic commodities.
According to Mnangagwa, the introduction of the local currency was aimed at “stabilising prices” that have gone beyond the reach of many people, pegged using the United States dollar as the reference point at a time the majority were being paid in Real Time Gross Settlement dollars.
The de-dollarisation doused a strike threat by government workers, who had given their employer an ultimatum in protest against the deteriorating economic situation.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube on Monday told Parliament that he expected prices to fall, while allaying fears of the 2008 hyperinflation, insisting that this time around, the situation was different because there is financial discipline. NewsDay