President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged the local business community to desist from wanton price hikes as seen in the past few weeks, adding that this will open spaces for cheaper imports.
Speaking during his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday, President Mnangagwa said hiking prices of local commodities would raise the appeal of cheaper imports and undermine government efforts to develop the local industry.
“In the last few weeks, the country has witnessed rampant increases in the prices of goods and services. I appeal yet again to our business community to show restraint and avoid wanton hiking of prices, bearing in mind the fact that such actions raise the appeal of cheaper imports, which has the effect of undermining current efforts to develop the local industry,” he said.
President Mnangagwa added that the manufacturing sector is showing signs of recovery, particularly in industries that benefitted from Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 that limits the importation of certain basic commodities locally available giving local industry space and capacity to retool and recapitalize.
The unprecedented inflation of basic commodities, however, creates a situation where foreign products will be brought into the country as a cost-cutting measure, especially during this festive season as Zimbabweans working outside the country, make their way home. Such a situation will culminate in local manufacturers and shops losing out on business.
The past week has seen prices of products like meat, eggs and cooking oil among others doubling overnight, a situation that many have bemoaned as the festive season beckons.
The SI 64 was put in place to protect local industries, however, though porous entry ports and a thriving informal sector, smuggling of the same goods banned under the open general import licence is rife. Almost all the goods sought to be controlled under this piece of legislation can be found piled on Harare CBD’s sidewalks although success stories under SI 64 have been recorded.