Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu has blasted retailers who are increasing prices of goods and services saying the price hikes are illegal as there was no justification whatsoever, other than profiteering and warned them to stop the price madness.
The minister was responding to calls by consumers who have been on the receiving end as there was an unexplained increase of many goods in shops and supermarkets throughout the country in the past week.
He said there was no justification whatsoever as to why prices suddenly shot up other than speculative behaviour which had no basis at all. He said he was having marathon meetings with stakeholders in the business sector to get to the bottom of the price frenzy that was hurting the ordinary people.
“The price hikes are not justified at all. People ride on speculation and that is really uncalled for. I urge the retailers to reverse their prices,” he said.
The minister said it was sad to note that manufacturers of the same goods had not increased their prices to guarantee price hikes but the retailers have increased theirs.
“If you check with the manufacturers of the goods and wholesalers too they have not increased their prices and you wonder at what point in the value chain is the price hike effected,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu also bemoaned the fact that some sections of the value chain were operating on speculative basis which he said was uncalled for and unnecessary.
“We are following these events with great concern and hopefully they (retailers) will just get back to proper business ethics and stop this profiteering tendency,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Corporate Capital Consultancy Zimbabwe will host a business forum under the theme “Meet the Industrialists” on Saturday where the Minister of Industry and Commerce together with his deputy Raj Modi will be the guest speakers.
Speaking to Sunday News, Miss Rejoice Mafukidze, the co-ordinator of the event said all sectors of industry were expected to come and be part of the event.
“This is a forum that we are having which is based on hearing the possible solutions to reviving our industry. We want expert brains in industry throughout the country to come and proffer their ideas on how we can get our industrial hub Bulawayo back on its feet,” she said.
She said it was essential that the citizens get confidence in the captains of industry as they speak out on how best the city could be transformed to be the industrial hub that it used to be in the not far away past.
“It is now time for action and everyone has to be in this bandwagon as we reinvent the industrial hub via this solution making forum,” she added.
The deputy minister Cde Modi said the forum was also an opportunity to have conversations with the captains of industry and hear their success stories and also the operational challenges that they were having and map the way forward.