ED: Price hikes alarm government, business slammed

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By Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT has been shocked by the rate at which industry is increasing prices of basic commodities, with the latest being the 50 percent hike by bread makers, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

In his speech at celebrations to mark the country’s 39th Independence anniversary, Mnangagwa said the increases were inhumane.

“Government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increases of prices which has brought about untold suffering to the people.

“This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue which the 2nd Republic has espoused,” said Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa who has lately accused the remnants of the Zanu PF G40 faction of sabotaging the economy, promised thousands who thronged who attended the main celebrations in Harare, that he will find solutions to the country’s problems.

“Government remains determined to restore the purchasing power of all workers. My government remains committed to address distortions in all sectors of the economy,” the President said.

Bakers this week increased the price of bread from RTGS$2 to RTGS$3 for a loaf, this for the third time in less than a year citing shortages of foreign currency.

The increase, was according to the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe in response to government’s decision to review the prices of maize, wheat, soya beans and cotton by almost 70 percent.

Mnangagwa has consistently declared he does not want to resort to price controls but early this week in an interview with State media ahead of the freedom celebrations warned industry not to force his hand.

The President added that price hikes should be regulated by market forces, warning producers to resist the temptation to profiteer.

This year’s celebrations ran under the theme:“Embracing Devolution for Vision 2030”.