Govt to protect consumers amid continued price increases

22 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Govt to protect consumers amid continued price increases Denford Mutashu

eBusiness Weekly

Nelson Gahadza

Government has said it will continue to create a stable operating environment for business to ensure
that consumers are protected from business mal-practices including incessant price hikes.

Industry and Commerce chief director Dr Douglas Runyowa speaking at the Retailers and Wholesalers
Indaba in Harare said it is important that there be continuous engagements between Government and
the private sector so that there is stability in the economy.

“The Indaba has come at an opportune time when the Government is seized with the issue of ever-
increasing prices of goods and services in the economy which are impacting negatively on consumer

“The theme of the Indaba, therefore, is very relevant as the three issues highlighted namely; exchange
rate, pricing and inflation are currently topical in national conversations in our economy,” he said.

Dr Runyowa added that there is a need to advance the interests of the consumers ahead of profiteering.

“Consumers have, and continue to, cry over ever increasing prices, among other business mal-practices.
After all, we are all consumers and no one is spared,” he said.

Dr Runyowa said that the Government is currently implementing the National Development Strategy 1
(NDS1) blueprint, which through the Moving the Economy up the value chain and Structural
Transformation pillar seeks to prioritize key value chain growth thereby facilitating an open and growing
industrial sector.

He said this is buttressed by such policies as the National Industrial Development Policy (ZNIDP), Local
Content Policy which all seek to promote local production and value addition.

“In the medium term, our challenge is to ensure we stimulate industries based on indigenous raw
materials and strengthen local value chains.

“I therefore wish to make a clarion call to our industry to join hands with the Government in
entrenching local production of goods so as to eliminate imported inflation, which is key in stabilizing
prices,” said Dr Runyowa.

He said the government and private sector need to work together closely to support local manufacturing
entities which will churn out competitive goods capable of competing both locally and in global markets
in order to help stabilize our economy.

The Retailers and Wholesalers Indaba was organized by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR)
running under the theme “Promoting Local Currency Enhancement through Exchange Rate, Pricing and
Inflation Stability”.

Dr Runyowa highlighted that at the onset that Zimbabwe, like any other nation is reeling from the
effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as that has shattered many economies and disrupted supply chains
across the globe.

Furthermore, he said, the geo-political situation in Eastern Europe has also contributed to further shocks
to the Zimbabwean economy which has contributed to the high inflationary global environment in the
energy and food value chains.

“Our fragile economies are not spared either and the impact is being felt by retailers and wholesalers
among other sectors of the economy.”

CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu said that the battle for survival between formal and informal retail
continues to threaten the viability of formal business.

He said operating costs are wiping off margins while labour costs containment remains a moving target
against diminishing real value sales.

“Our manufacturers are struggling to consistently supply without losing out on exchange rate
movement. Exchange rate shocks and the unpredictability in the trading environment have made
planning difficult,” he said.

He said there are very few to none suppliers and service providers who take local currency for payment
of goods and services under the obtaining situation.

“The currency you offer attracts the price one gets and even the quantity of supply. A customer entering
the store expects a fairly priced quality product that is not only available but offered flexibly in all
currencies legal tender. “It's a vicious cycle,” he said.

Mr Mutashu said business should remain responsible and desist from speculative behaviour and always
narrow the gap between incomes and prices.

“As inflation piles pressure on prices, incomes have remained eroded hence the need for policy
intervention to save consumers and business and we need to remain optimistic,” he said.

Mr Mutashu indicated that the economy has huge potential despite the challenges.

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