Price blitz ‘flawed’ – Mumbengegwi

MASVINGO - President Robert Mugabe's government has for the first time admitted that a controversial blitz on prices it embarked on three months ago was flawed and may have worsened matters.
Addressing business leaders in Masvingo this week, Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi described t

he exercise as “chaotic”.
Mugabe ordered producers and service providers last June to slash prices by half to contain world record inflation pegged at more than 7 600 percent in July.
The government crackdown, code-named Operation Dzikisa Mutengo (Operation Reduce Prices) has seen Zimbabweans take advantage of the bargains to hoard basic goods leaving most shop shelves empty.
“We are now busy trying to regularise everything, that is why I gave the National Incomes and Pricing Commission $36 billion so that it starts working,” Mumbengegwi told Masvingo business leaders.
The commission is one of the offshoots of the Price and Incomes Stabilisation Protocol signed into law by President Mugabe last month, which would freeze prices and wages.
“I am hopeful that things will start picking up a bit as we address all the problems that have been brought about by our lack of planning and dialogue when we came up with the programme, said Mumbengegwi.
“We want the situation to go back to normal as soon as possible but it might take ages because of the situation in which we are,” the minister said.
Business executives who attended the meeting at the Masvingo Civic Centre told Mumbengegwi they were on the verge of closing their businesses because of the shortages of goods and raw materials.
They also complained about the behaviour of government monitors, some of whom they accused of demanding bribes. – ZimOnline

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