Source: Industry minister slams panic-buying | The Herald 20 OCT, 2018
Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu yesterday attributed artificial shortages of basic commodities gripping the country to panic-buying. He said industry had adequate capacity to meet consumer demand.
Speaking after touring some of the major producers of basic commodities, wholesalers and retailers in Harare yesterday, Minister Ndlovu said all key producers and suppliers were receiving facilitation from Government to be able to meet demand.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’ president Denford Mutashu, who was part of the minister’s tour, said aggregate demand had increased in the last few weeks by about 50 percent.
He hailed interventions Government was making to facilitate adequate production and supply.
Minister Ndlovu said the country was not facing “a crisis of supply, but a crisis of panic buying”.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is rationing foreign currency allocation to ensure equitable distribution.
Limited hard currency means the lag time from the allocation process sometimes interrupts smooth production, causing supply bottlenecks on some key products.
“Primarily, we want to instill confidence back among the people because we do not have a crisis of supply, we have a crisis of panic buying. If we really normalise our buying patterns we will be able to restore the levels that were there before, but beyond that we are working with key stakeholders,” said Minister Ndlovu.
Minister Ndlovu said the RBZ and Government were doing their best to address the situation.
“We were pretty much worried about the health sector, but we know they have been disbursements, most of it is now awaiting clearance and we did get assurance that as the foreign currency is received they are able to support key sectors, especially the manufacturing sector; the productive sector; so that we maintain the supply levels that are needed by the consumers.”
Commenting on the impromptu visit to major producers, suppliers and retailers of basic commodities in Harare the minister said he wanted to see what is happening, as “we do not want to be the Government that makes decisions from the office”.
“We wanted to appreciate the challenges direct from the people who are running these shops. From the manufacturing side we visited the cooking oil plant (Pure Oil Industries).”
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