Price controls return as Gvt freezes prices of basic goods
The Zimbabwe government has ordered businesses operating in the country to freeze the prices of goods and services and to revert to the prices which were on March 25, 2020. This was announced on Wednesday afternoon by Vice President Kembo Mohadi who is the chairperson of the National Covid-19 Taskforce.
Mohadi announced the freezing of prices as part of the government’s efforts to protect the citizens during the national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease. Some businesses have taken advantage of the national lockdown regulations which limit consumers to a 5km radius when shopping to increase prices and make super-profits. Some businesses have gone as far as charging 200 percent of the prices prevailing elsewhere in what has been described as price madness in some quarters.
However, the price moratorium only applies to specific basic commodities following negotiations between the government, the Grain Millers of Zimbabwe (GMAZ), the Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ), the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe and the Confederation Of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR).
However, many social media users have expressed their scepticism on the efficacy of the government’s new directive which they argue is unrealistic as market forces will determine the prices. Some have also cautioned that the government’s new move could result in massive shortages of the basic commodities as business people will be resisting the government’s command approach.