11 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Under Pressure Zanu-PF Mulls Price Controls

ZANU PF has triggered a process that could result in government turning to price controls as Zimbabwe remains stuck in a two decade-long economic mire despite a change of guard triggered by the November military coup.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration has been making the right noises regarding policy changes but predecessor Robert Mugabe's legacy of price increases and cash shortages continue unabated.

While Mnangagwa has promised to steer clear of price controls, indications are that his failure to make an immediate impact on the three-tier pricing system in the economy and cash shortages might force his hand.

Following the meeting of the Zanu PF politburo, Wednesday, party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo announced a committee headed by Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga specifically to deal with prices had been set up.

"The politburo discussed the issue of rampant price increases in the country and has identified various strategies to curtail this phenomenon," said Khaya Moyo.

Like Mugabe before him Mnangagwa, has started to describe businesses increasing prices in language that might inspire hate among ordinary people.

In the politburo discussions, President Mnangagwa warned economic saboteurs that their days were numbered.

"The party is aware of those who want to cause confusion and inflict economic pain on our people," said Khaya Moyo who also serves in cabinet as energy minister.

Businesses are charging different prices for payments in US dollars, another for the surrogate currency known as bond notes and different price for those paying using the electronic system.

Khaya Moyo added: "The issue of the three-tier pricing system was also discussed and measures to curb these Will be announced in due course.

"A politburo ad hoc committee has been put in place to deal with this issue decisively and will be chaired by Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga."

Mugabe oscillated between price controls and allowing the market to determine them as and when it suited him politically.

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