President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the government has had enough of diplomacy as a way of addressing the economic crisis and now is determined to “tackle this wanton abuse in the marketplace.”
His remarks come as prices of commodities are rising very fast reminding the public of the 2008 era when Zimbabwe registered record-high inflation of 231 million per cent, as per official statistics.
In his latest weekly Sunday Mail column, Mnangagwa says he is done talking. He said:
In respect of extortionate pricing, we have exhausted moral suasion as a way of causing sanity in the market.
Indiscipline in the market is now so entrenched and even obstinate that it is increasingly becoming a political challenge to the whole establishment.
It is Government which gets blamed; it is Government which must tackle this wanton abuse in the marketplace. We are determined to do just that.
When Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube was appointed in 2018, he was expected to introduce measures that would turn around the country’s fortunes. A cocktail of measures, including the austerity measures, has so far failed to achieve intended goals.
Analysts say Ncube’s failure is compelling Mnangagwa to resort to “what ZANU PF has always known; threats and price controls.”
Previously, the Robert Mugabe-led regime introduced price control measures and the Basic commodities (BARCOSI) initiative that was introduced by the former governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Gideon Gono during the 2007-8 hyperinflation era.
In a similar fashion, the Mnangagwa-led government has subsidised mealie-meal and has also issued threats to the business community ordering them to reduce the prices of their commodities.
Businesses, however, say the cost of doing business is high and they are just responding to market forces.