Business urged to drop gangster mentality

biti_financeHARARE -- Finance Minister Tendai Biti (Pictured) has urged the business community to shed off the economic gangsterism learnt during the recent years of hyperinflation when blatant profiteering became an acceptable practice.

Commenting on moves by bakers to increase the price of bread, Biti said the price hike was not justifiable, adding that some in the business community were still clinging on to the profiteering mentality of old.

The business community should adjust its mindset and manner of business to the prevailing stable macro-economic environment under the multi-currency system, Biti told The Zimbabwean on Sunday last week.

A standard loaf of bread is selling at an average price of US$1.10 after bakers slapped a 10 percent hike on the price of the staple food, a move Biti said was unjustified.

He said: Business should now shed off bad practices adopted during the hyperinflationary era . you were making margins of US$4 000 during the hyperinflation period, but you still want to do that (even after price and market stabilisation).

Biti said the move by local bakers to hike the price of bread following reports of a wheat deficit in Europe falsely gave the impression that local millers and bread makers face similar production costs as their counterparts overseas.

But Grain Millers Association chairman Tafadzwa Musarara insisted that huge wheat deficits in Europe and elsewhere in the world has a direct bearing on the price of the commodity on the international market.

He said: We are not only anticipating wheat a price increase but shortages of the commodity as European countries which used to supply us with the grain are threatening to completely stop wheat exports owing to shortages caused by global warming. This has a direct bearing on the prices of flour and also affects bread prices.

Zimbabwe consumes around 450 000 tonnes of wheat annually, the bulk of which it used to produce.

The country now imports most of its wheat — just as it does every other food commodity — since 2000 when Mugabe launched his haphazard and violent fast-track land reform exercise that displaced established white commercial farmers and replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.

Post published in: Economy

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