BASIC COMMODITIES #THEGOODNEWS | Zimbabweans should not panic over false reports regarding food shortages as the manufacturing sector has enough resources to feed the nation, a top business leader has said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Sifelani Jabangwe hit out at peddlers of this false information, saying they were ignorant of economic fundamentals.
Last week, social media platforms were abuzz with suggestions that Zimbabwe could plunge into serious food shortages on the back of currency problems and diminishing manufacturing capacity.
Drawing parallels with the 2007-08 hyperinflation era, the reports painted a gloomy picture of highly volatile prices, claiming the situation would persist until after the 2018 harmonised elections.
The same kind of misinformation triggered panic four weeks ago, with consumers purchasing basic goods in bulk, creating restocking gaps and price spirals.
A special Cabinet committee is helping to restore market order, while the IMF and World Bank have reaffirmed projections that Zimbabwe’s economy will grow by three percent in 2017.
Mr Jabangwe told The Sunday Mail last week: “We have always assured the nation that we have enough basic commodities in the country and we will continue having them as the manufacturing sector continues to produce despite foreign currency shortages.
“The Central Bank is doing the best it can to provide foreign currency allocations to producing companies and is even increasing finance to oil producers and fuel suppliers. Given these interventions, people will not suffer like they did in 2008, no matter what.”
Mr Jabangwe said all economic sectors are performing “fairly well except banking where forex is a menace to many producers”.
He singled out agriculture, which is expected to grow by 12 percent, as a success story.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy so we urge farmers to prepare early to avert potential pressures in January.
“If they do that, the forthcoming summer cropping season will be a success once again.”
A recent survey conducted by the special Cabinet committee, headed by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha, showed that basic commodity prices are stabilising.
Dr Bimha told this paper: “We are happy that through the taskforce’s efforts, some basic good prices are starting to go down. For instance, cooking oil, which was around US$6 per 2-litre bottle in the aftermath of panic buying, is now going for US$3,65.
“Due to the fact that oil producers are being given foreign currency allocations constantly, the price will drop even further.”
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Mr Denford Mutashu said: “Zimbabwe does not have a time-bomb situation as far as basic commodity shortages are concerned. Retailers and wholesalers are working closely with manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to maintain consistent and sufficient supplies of affordable basic goods and services.
There’s no need to panic as goods will always be on the shelves.”