Whinsley Masara in Harare
VICE President Kembo Mohadi has said swift measures are being implemented to restore price stability in the market so as to ensure consumers get value for their money.
In a speech read on his behalf by his principal director, Dr Temba Ndlovu, during the fourth edition of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’ (CZR) annual national retailers and wholesalers awards here on Tuesday, VP Mohadi said Government was concerned over the unjustified and unlawful price distortions in the market, which were short-changing ordinary consumers.
“We urge retailers and wholesalers to heed His Excellency’s call and practice responsible pricing to protect the consumers. Government will continue to foster a stable macro-economic environment while deploying confidence building measures,” he said.
“As Government we believe that a vibrant and competitive retail sector, which practices responsible pricing will play a big role in improving the livelihoods of the generality of the country’s citizenry.”
The awards event sought to recognise and promote retail excellence while offering retailers and wholesale enterprises from across the country the opportunity to showcase innovation and creativity within their establishments.
“We note that the retail sector has remained resilient and has performed fairly well under strenuous circumstances and continues to contribute to the growth and development of the economy in various ways.
“We are glad that some retail players continue to expand their operations as they open branch networks countrywide,” said the Vice President.
“We realise that 95 percent of retail transactions are currently attributed to plastic and mobile money. This has enabled Zimbabwe to join many African countries in the use of mobile and plastic money. Nonetheless, there is need for an improvement of connectivity across the country and tremendous work is therefore required on infrastructure improvement.”
VP Mohadi said the lifting of import restrictions has led to improved supply of goods on the market as more retailers and wholesalers have begun to import goods.
“There are no more empty shelves as was experienced mid-October to early November. As Government, we will continue to play our role to ensure the public is well served especially this festive season.
“We encourage the retailers to adequately stock and meet the requirements of consumers this season,” said VP Mohadi.
He said Government will expedite the finalisation and implementation of the industrialisation policy, which seeks to increase local content while supporting an aggressive value addition thrust that intensifies the utilisation of local resources.
As part of its Transitional Stabilisation Programme, Government plans to establish a national trade policy to support the export-led growth agenda through diversifying export markets so as to maximise foreign currency receipts.
“Government will therefore continue to ensure that adequate foreign currency is available for recapitalisation and raw material acquisition and will also expedite the establishment of the foreign currency allocation committee to promote efficient management of foreign currency inflows,” said the Vice President.
He also castigated property owners who are said to be demanding payment of rentals in forex.
“The majority of players in the retail and wholesale sectors rely on renting properties and the unjustified demand by property owners to be paid rent in forex negatively affects the viability of these sectors as well as manufacturing establishments,” said VP Mohadi.
He called for tightening of border surveillance to curb smuggling, which negatively affects local businesses and robs Government of taxes.