The prevailing price madness that has seen retailers hiking prices by, in some cases, more than 50 percent should be stopped forthwith. Some of the retailers have gone to the extent of rejecting bond notes or electronic payments insisting on payment in either US dollar or rand. Government on Tuesday directed that prices of basic commodities increased without justification should be reduced immediately.
The past few days have seen retailers hiking prices of basic commodities thereby causing panic on the market leading to artificial shortages. Government has also directed that no business should reject bond notes or electronic payments when transacting.
Announcing the Government position soon after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Vice President Kembo Mohadi said those who defy the Government directives will face drastic action and those in the fuel sector risk revocation of their licences.
Cde Mohadi, while applauding big retail shops such as OK and Pick n Pay for maintaining the usual prices, said Government has noted with concern that some supermarkets and individuals have started selling commodities at exorbitant prices. “There are also some who are engaged in speculative buying in order to create artificial shortages. Government is warning those that have hiked prices and also those that are hoarding basic commodities in order to create artificial shortages to stop the malpractice,” said Vice President Mohadi.
Early this year, the ruling party Zanu-PF was forced to set up an ad hoc committee to deal with wanton increases of prices of basic commodities witnessed between November last year and January this year.
The committee was chaired by the party’s Second Secretary and Vice President Constantino Guveya Chiwenga. The price hikes were as a result of speculation and profiteering which has happened again now. The committee, we want to believe, got some intelligence which must assist the Government to address what is happening in the market place now.
It is unfortunate that the business community is pushing Government to act and then cry foul. What is surprising is that the producers of most of the commodities whose prices have been hiked are saying they have not increased the producer prices.
What justification is there for retailers to increase the commodities by 50, or more, percent? It is time the business associations assist Government in exposing such unscrupulous businesses that are deliberately putting spanners in the works when all effort is supposed to be directed at turning around the economy.
There is an urgent need for consumers to unite and boycott buying from such retailers instead of hoarding commodities to create artificial shortages.
Government might need to take action against a few of these unscrupulous businesses in order to send a clear message that sabotaging the economy is not tolerated.
Those who want to cause the suffering of the people are the country’s enemies and therefore deserve to be punished severely.