MDC: ‘Barbaric’ price controls will worsen shortages; Zanu PF has lost it

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By Anna Chibamu

THE main opposition MDC party has condemned government attempts to impose price controls saying this will not address inflationary pressures.

Zanu PF’s failure to take responsibility for the economic meltdown, the Nelson Chamisa-led opposition argued, has resulted in the current price hikes, shortages of basic commodity shortages and worsening poverty.

In a statement Friday, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume warned the Emmerson Mnangagwa government against blaming the opposition for the worsening economic problems.

This comes as basic commodities have become scarce in most supermarkets and shop while prices have also hit the roof.

At Pick and Pay supermarket Corner Second Street and Jason Moyo Avenue, police had to be called Friday morning to disperse crowds who had gathered after cooking oil was delivered at the retail shop.

“Zanu PF mediocrity, lack of care for the people of Zimbabwe and their nauseating pursuit of patronage and self-preservation are the reasons of economic collapse in Zimbabwe,” said Mafume.

“An attempt to control prices is therefore tinkering with the deck while the titanic is sinking.

“We in the MDC are aware that Zanu PF led by Mnangagwa does not want to take responsibility for its corruption and failure which has now resulted in economic meltdown and the suffering of the masses.

“They play the blame game, blaming everyone except the trees and the stones. They blame the opposition for sabotage; blame shops for profiteering and blame the citizen for panic buying; surprisingly shortages include drugs in pharmacies.”

Mafume argued the shortages have resulted in productive time being lost in fuel queues, at food stalls and the search of now scarce basics.

“Several statements in successive press conferences by government officials including vice president Kembo Mohadi are to the effect that Zanu PF has gone back to its default of price controls among other reactive and barbaric measures typical of a bunch with no proper understanding of elementary economics.

“With the above characterizing economic activity in Zimbabwe, the underlying assumptions for recovery are therefore non-existent, a government which regulates consumer spending and control prices only worsens the situation.”

He added; “It creates shortages, encourages the alternative market and subsequently exacerbates prices they are trying to control.

“The government must attend to its expenditure irregularities and provide supply side solutions.

“The cost of the dollar is therefore the major driver of inflation. This cannot be corrected through institution of barbaric price controls and threats of revoking retail licenses.”

Mafume urged the government to design an Emergency Recovery Economic Plan supported by an Emergency Recovery Fund to revive distressed companies as part of supply-side solutions to the crisis.

The government must also live within its means and to deal with the liquidity crisis among other measures to revive the sinking economy.