Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
Members of Parliament have condemned the recent hiking of prices by retailers, saying this was meant to incite people to rise against the Government.
They said the unjust price hikes were seriously affecting Government programmes aimed at reviving the economy.
Buhera South legislator Cde Joseph Chinotimba said it was unfortunate that profiteering being spearheaded by greedy people was affecting Government efforts to improve the lives of people.
He said if prices of agricultural inputs are not monitored, programmes that include Command Agriculture could be adversely affected.
“It’s worrying that prices of inputs have gone up to alarming levels. The pesticides that we used to buy for $15 a litre, have been doubled and sometimes they are now being sold at $45 per litre. Fertiliser that used to be very affordable at between $30 and $32 now costs $45 to $50,” said Cde Chinotimba while speaking in Parliament on Tuesday.
The MP said government should investigate and bring the price hike craze to an end, saying it could destroy the nation.
“We thank the President for the Command Agriculture but we also want him to send teams to investigate the prices that have gone up because the hiking of prices is not fair.
“Those people in the rural areas are subsistence farmers and they cannot afford the expensive fertilizers because it now costs $100 for 18kg,” said Cde Chinotimba.
He warned that if the price hikes continue there would be no food in the country.
“If prices continue to go up, it means that the person can no longer afford to buy fertilizer or the seed itself.
“So, the President talked about Command Agriculture which is a good initiative but we request that the Government goes down on the ground and investigate what is happening — not only to investigate the prices of biscuits and other commodities but also the price of inputs for agriculture,” he added.
Mpopoma-Pelandaba legislator Cde Joseph Tshuma said there was also manipulation of the exchange rate.
He said the recent price hikes were meant to incite people against the Government.
“The President also spoke about the economy. I looked at the issue of the pricing system and I was saying to myself, here we are and I will give an example of Croco Motors. Just a few weeks ago, when you take your car for servicing, it would cost you about $200 to $300 but right now, if you go there it is costing you around $700 to $1 000 and you are saying to yourself, what price adjustment and justification do you get from such kind of hiking of prices?” asked the MP.
“You go to the shops and see the basic commodities, it is the same thing. Why, this is because somebody is speculating and playing around with percentages on the bond notes and the US dollar. How fair can we be Madam Speaker?
“If you go to Fourth Street right now or go to Bulawayo at Tredgold, you are going to find trunks and trunks of money, be it US dollar or bond notes but at the end of the day, the blame goes to the President, the Government, Zanu-PF.”
Three weeks ago, consumers descended into panic-buying amid false reports on social media that the country was heading for a repeat of 2008, when shortages of basic commodities were experienced.