By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE increase in the price of bread, by the private sector is aimed at igniting social upheaval in Zimbabwe, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
Mutsvangwa was speaking in the UK, at a meeting with Zimbabweans in the diaspora last week. She announced government will soon unveil a company to produce basic commodities that are affordable to ordinary people.
“Industry has been invited so many times in the last six months at State House (President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s residence), to talk. But from nowhere, on the eve of Independence, they didn’t follow that channel of negotiating. They just put a letter at six o clock in the evening at Industry Minister’s (Mangaliso) Ndlovu’s office announcing that they have increased the price of bread.”
“One clearly see that there is a motive a day before Independence Day celebrations, there will be 40 to 50 000 people in the stadium and President was going to talk to these people, so what did they want to happen,” said Mutsvangwa.
“President Mnangagwa has created this democratic space where he is saying let us constantly consult. We don’t want as a government to come up with price controls because he appreciates, the fact that the forces of supply and demand should come in, we should sit down negotiate and talk where there is a problem.”
Mutsvangwa is in London, leading a delegation attending the Africa Financial Services Investment Conference.
This is the first time Zimbabwe is attending the annual conference which brings over 1000 delegates from the African continent.
She added: “You know we are un-bundling GMB, (Grain Marketing Board), because of issues of skyrocketing prices, that we are confronted with. Some companies in Zimbabwe are fighting to see that the government fails.”
Government, according to Mutsvangwa has a plan to arrest the situation with RTGS$ 70 million having already been invested in the establishing of a basic commodities manufacturing company.
“The President is looking at all those issues affecting people. We have unbundled the GMB because private sector used to import all the wheat and maize. The President has stopped that, after realising the private sector was abusing that facility.
“Now it’s the GMB that imports wheat, maize. Some companies wanted to buy all the wheat at the GMB silos probably thinking government was still as clumsy as before.
“The government stopped that because they (private sector) think bread makes people revolt against the government,” she said.