Monday, August 07, 2006

Zim government orders 21 day price freeze

Well, that's one way to make things scarce...

"No trader, manufacturer, wholesaler, dealer or retailer of any commodity shall as a result of the conversion of any price of that commodity on August 1 2006 from the old currency system to the new currency system ... increase the price of that commodity by any amount," Obert Mpofu, Minister of Industry and International Trade told the Sunday Mail newspaper.

"This direction shall have effect from August 1 2006 to August 21 2006," he added.

Mpofu was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.

President Robert Mugabe's government keeps price controls on some basic commodities like maize-meal, bread and milk but can also revoke price increases in several other products.

Companies justify regular price increases to rising production costs due to inflation, which at 1,184.6 percent is the highest in the world, and argue that they source foreign currency for inputs at the black market where prices are more than twice the official rate.

Urban Zimbabweans are the worst hit by the country's economic crisis, dramatised by shortages of foreign currency, fuel, food and electricity while contending with water cuts, crumbling roads and burst sewers.

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