Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
President Mnangagwa says he will meet the business sector in a spirited effort to find ways of arresting business practices causing unprecedented consumer price hikes.
Addressing the nation shortly before flying out to New York for the United Nations General Assembly last night, the President said the Government remained concerned about the increase in prices of basic commodities.
“Soon, I shall be calling for a meeting with the business community so we agree on clear ground rules which ensure fair play in the market,” he said.
“It is not the intention of Government to interfere with the operation of business. However, where clear failures become evident and rampant in the market, the hand of Government will inevitably show.
“To avoid this, I urge our business community to demonstrate leadership, empathy and patriotism while recovery takes root.”
President Mnangagwa said while Government acknowledges that the new monetary measures and the drought may have added to present price actions, he did not accept such actions were justified in all cases.
He said Government has for some time now, observed with increasing concern a tendency within the business sector to randomly increase prices without cause, except that of greedy profiteering.
“The whole situation becomes completely unjustified and untenable when only prices of basic commodities continue to escalate against static or even declining wages,” the President said.
“Surely a generalised price escalation should and must have a bearing on wage levels in the economy.”
The President appealed to the business sector to put on show leadership that takes business decisions, which are professional, ethical and even compassionate.
“They must act in a manner consistent with the broader goal of economic recovery, tripartism and sustainable long-term macro-economic stability,” he said.
The prevailing run-away price increases are hurting the majority of people as all basic commodities are now beyond their reach.
Since October last year, when Government introduced austerity measures to turnaround the economy, the country has experienced incessant prices increases of basic commodities.
While wages are paid in local currency, whose purchase power has been debilitated, businesses and individuals are now pegging prices of most goods and services in United State dollars or the prevailing interbank rate.
This has worsened the plight of the ordinary people whose meagre salaries cannot afford even the basics.