PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has counselled businesses in the wholesale and retail sector to desist from unjust profiteering ahead of the festive season.
The Head of State and Government made these remarks at the 6th edition of Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers and Wholesalers (CZR) annual awards in a speech read on his behalf by Vice President Kembo Mohadi on Friday night.
The President’s call comes at a time when most businesses are taking advantage of increased demand for goods by consumers to maximise on profits, by increasing prices.
The New Dispensation has deliberately disregarded the temptation to impose price controls to let market forces determine prices of goods and services in line with promoting private sector led economic growth.
However, some companies have taken advantage of this window to exploit consumers notwithstanding the economic stability that the country is enjoying.
“I call for increased production and productivity as well as continued improvement in the quality of our products, competitive pricing models and eradication of rent-seeking behaviour,” said the President, through VP Mohadi.
“Let us restore the dignity of our consumers that have been short-changed for a long time.
“My Government reassures you of its commitment to industrialisation, import substitution and a robust export strategy. It is also important that you continue to grow through taking up investment opportunities that lie abound in the retail sector.
“As the private sector, you must continue collaborations with Government towards improving economic performance and standards of living. Establish relations with organisations in the global networks in order to attract the much needed foreign direct investment”.
As a sign of its commitment to improving customer rights, the President said Government recently enacted the Consumer Protection Act (Chapter 14:44).
He said the Act further aims to level the playing field between industry and the consumer.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the continued uptake of locally manufactured goods by local retailers and wholesalers is a sign that Zimbabwe is undergoing industrialisation.
She said most of the businesses that are operating in the country stood firm at a time when Zimbabwe was undergoing tough economic challenges and should thus be appreciated for believing in a brighter future for the country.
“. . . there is absolutely no doubt that there is indeed industrialisation in this country,” said Minister Nzenza.
“At one stage it was very difficult to get basic commodities in this country. What we see tonight was at some stage impossible to get. It has not been an easy time”.
CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu called on the sector to observe basic labour laws and treat employees with dignity.