‘There won’t be shortage of goods in shops’

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.”

‘There won’t be shortage of goods in shops’ Mr Kurai Matsheza

Herald Reporters

MANUFACTURERS and mainstream retail outlets have assured the nation that they are adequately  stocked with goods and the currency switchover has not affected the production of foodstuffs and related products.

Both the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) said they are geared to provide the market with the required goods and they have so far not encountered any challenges.

The assurance comes in the wake of claims from some quarters that there has been panic buying arising from the currency switchover that might result in goods disappearing from shelves.

The reports suggested that manufacturers and retail outlets were either withholding goods or reducing production as they did not have confidence in the Zimbabwe Gold currency that was introduced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) more than a fortnight ago.

There were reports that some basic commodities had since disappeared in some shops, but in an interview, CZI president, Mr Kurai Matsheza, said they had not encountered anything that would impede production of basic goods.

“As manufacturers, we have our hands on the deck. We have not had any challenges regarding the production of goods for the retailers and the market in general. If there is any challenge, definitely it might lie elsewhere, like with the retailers, but certainly not with us. We have been supplying goods as per orders that would have been given to us by our customers, the retail shops,” said Mr Matsheza.

CZR president, Mr Denford Mutashu said they were well stocked with basic commodities and any suggestions to the contrary were false.

“The market is adequately stocked. CZR analysis reports from rural and urban areas show that we are fully stocked. There is no sign of panic buying that we might have observed. We remain prepared to discharge our mandate of providing goods to members of the public,” said Mr Mutashu.

A survey by The Herald in Harare yesterday showed that most shops were fully stocked. Those that did not have one or two food items said they were replenishing sooner rather than later.

“We have not had any challenge in terms stocking our products. One item or the other might run out but we swiftly order replacements because our suppliers are ready to deliver once we make an order,” said a supervisor at one of the mainstream retailers.

One customer spoken to at Pick and Pay in the city centre, Mrs Joyce Mutemera, said she managed to buy all her goods under one roof, an indication that retail shops were well stocked.

“I have bought all these groceries here, and I bought using my ZiG money, something that I found very convenient,” she said.

A retail shop proprietor, Ms Patience Mlambo, expressed confidence in the continued supply of goods.

“As you can see, I have the bulk of basic commodities. We need to accept the new currency and move forward. It’s up to us to give our currency value,” she said.

Appearing before a joint sitting of the Portfolio Committees of Budget, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and Industry and Commerce, the Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises representative, Mr Last Matema, said their organisation welcomed the introduction of the gold-backed currency.

“We welcome the introduction of the new currency, which comes at a critical time when we are` implementing the SMEs Policy 2020-2024, whose objectives are formalisation, employment creation and capacitation of SMEs. What we particularly like about the currency is that it is backed by gold whose value does not easily change, so we hope it will help in fighting inflation, which has affected our operations,” he said.

Mr Matema urged Government to ensure that there is no unnecessary expenditure that may affect confidence in the currency.

He also called on the RBZ to ensure that there was easy access to the ZiG notes and coins by marginalised groups and those in the rural areas to safeguard them from exploitation by unscrupulous businesses.

“We also urge Government to formalise artisanal miners to increase the supply of gold through the formal channels and ensure the success of the ZiG,” Mr Matema said.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Lawrence Nyazema said they had lent approximately US$1 billion of the nostro balances they have to industry.

He said the nostro balances that banks hold fluctuate between US$2 billion and US$2,5 billion.

“It is a significant number and about half of that we have lent out to our customers. We have lent about 50 percent of the nostro balances that we have to credible producers and borrowers, whom we believe are generating foreign currency and can repay us whether on maturity or on demand so the US$1 billion has not gone to waste but has gone to support the productive sectors,” Mr Nyazema said.

The director general of the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds, Mrs Sandra Musevenzo, said the ZiG had the potential to preserve pensions.

“If the currency structure is implemented as stated by the RBZ in the Monetary Policy Statement, it will preserve the value of pensions and the monetary value of pensions will be backed by gold and the other positive impact is the convenience it will bring back to our pensioners who need cash to transact, especially in rural areas,” she said.