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Mnangagwa implores business produce more goods at affordable prices

by Staff reporter
29 Oct 2020 at 21:08hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has implored business to capitalise on the country's stabilising economy and produce more goods at affordable prices for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Consumer Protection Act in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said the government could not improve the quality of life of long-suffering citizens on its own, calling on industry and commerce to play their part.

This comes as Zimbabwe is beginning to enjoy relative economic stability, following the recent implementation of a raft of measures — including the introduction of the foreign currency auction system in June, which has reined in the once rampant forex parallel market.

It also comes as Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya has said the current stability in prices of goods and services in the country would continue into next year.

"The current macro-economic stability must give impetus to our industry and commerce to produce affordable, quality goods and services.

"I challenge stakeholders to always act in the national interest informed by the overarching need to improve the quality of life of our citizenry.

"Let us be proactive with regards to how we conduct business and trade," Mnangagwa said.

The new Consumer Protection Act was promulgated in December last year, and guarantees the rights and obligations of both consumers and business.

It also seeks to enhance consumer empowerment, as well as the production of high quality goods and services.

Mnangagwa said the new law came at a time when his government was accelerating programmes to modernise and industrialise the country for sustainable economic growth.

"It takes a holistic and forward-looking approach to ensure that industry offers cutting-edge products and vibrant services to society, while inspiring creativity and innovation.

"This milestone achievement further attests to my government's commitment to reforms and the adoption of responsive policies which meet contemporary realities," he said further.

The 78-year-old Zanu-PF leader also reiterated his call for unity of purpose among Zimbabweans in tackling the country's myriad challenges.

"I call upon all of us to continue to rally our collective energies to develop our country through hard and honest work, and production and productivity across the entire economic spectrum.

"Corruption in our industry, commerce and society in general, must be weeded out. We are on a path towards a modern, prosperous and stronger Zimbabwe.

"Let us all walk and work hard together in unity. A brighter future depends on all of us," Mnangagwa added.

He also said all economic sectors had to play a role in fulfilling the Consumer Protection Act's aspirations.

"Human resources training and development programmes should be urgently rolled out across all sectors of the economy, including SMEs, to align our organisational practices and culture with the aspirations envisioned by this Act," he said.

Mnangagwa also said measures had to be taken to protect consumers from the increasing abuse of digital platforms in business transactions.

"We have witnessed a transition characterised by the increased usage of Information Communication Technology to conduct business and market products and services to customers.

"While the Customer Protection Act also deals with conduct related to the use of the Internet when conducting business, mechanisms must be urgently put in place to adequately regulate the practice.

"We must guarantee safety, predictability, transparency and consistency for the benefit of both consumers and our economy as a whole from the use of digital platforms," Mnangagwa said further.

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have commended the continuing stability in prices of goods and services.

Speaking to the Daily News earlier this week, both consumers and business leaders said the stabilising prices were affording them the chance to plan ahead — unlike what was obtaining previously.

The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Henry Ruzvidzo, said the predictable operating environment had allowed companies to focus on efficiencies and growth.

"Availability of foreign currency through formal channels has been consistent during the past three months.

"This has built confidence and has resulted in less aggressive pricing models," he said.

The president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR), Denford Mutashu, said the current "good spell" was likely to continue as industry was now ramping up production.

"The development has seen improved production and subsequently an oversupply of goods against low demand. The principle of supply and demand dictates that prices will naturally go down.

"We are hoping for further improvements in prices as borders open, with more goods coming in to compete with local products.

"This must be sustained by a robust export strategy hinged on import substitution and this can be achieved by capacitating local production," Mutashu told the Daily News.

This comes as Mangudya has said that the foreign currency auction system — credited with bringing in much-needed stability by allowing business to access forex at cheaper rates — will continue to be operational.

"The foreign currency auction system is the country's strategy for its exchange management, and this is here to stay. We are ensuring that consumers, business and investors enjoy its benefits.

"Our plan is to make sure that prices move in line with the auction rate and this is what is already happening. You will be seeing prices coming down further, going into the future," Mangudya told the Daily News this week

In an economic update following a meeting of the monetary policy committee (MPC), Mangudya had also said the availability of more foreign currency on the auction system would guarantee the timely importation of raw materials by business — which historically has struggled at this time of the year to raise funds for the country's import needs.

"The MPC expects price stability to continue prevailing in the economy during the last quarter of this year mainly on account of the improved operating business environment brought about by the foreign auction system.

"With 16 auctions having been conducted to date, and a total amount of US$291 million having been allotted, the MPC is pleased that the auction has also managed to improve the much needed availability of foreign currency," he said.

Source - dailynews

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