I cringed (and cursed, much to my husband’s shock!) when I learnt that government is contemplating controlling prices of goods, mostly basic commodities.
The last time such was effected, it was a total disaster. Thus, I concur with those who say the government must back off.
Obviously as consumers we are affected by high costs and would appreciate any price reduction of goods. But when those products disappear from the shelves, then price controls should never be an option!
A few years ago, just before the hyper inflation era, the government set prices of goods and within a matter of days, shops were empty while the black market was awash with things that were no longer found in the shops.
Some things such as bread was no longer produced. For months many people appreciated that truly, man cannot live on bread alone.
So if the comments by the Trade Minister concerning ‘monitoring’ prices is anything to go by, then it will be yet another round of déjà vu.
Of course some goods can now be imported but this doesn’t mean every Jack and Jill can afford to buy things from outside.
Instead of trying to control what is beyond their control, the government, or rather the powers that be, should focus on getting the economy back to its feet so that there is enough foreign currency in the reserve bank for industries to access.
The failure to address these fundamental issues will result in the same problems recurring as is the situation now with regards to fuel.
Just when most thought fuel shortages had been addressed, long winding queues have resurfaced, leaving one to wonder if there will ever be a lasting solution to this problem.
The sad thing is that there seems to be lots of fighting at the top over control of the fuel sector with everyone wanting to line their pockets – fortunately those who fight and control this sector will obviously never find themselves in a fuel queue.
On a different note, the country is experiencing huge, unexplained fires in different places, prompting conspiracy theorists to come up with strange explanations, which is typical of Zimbos anyway as there is always an explanation to everything.
What is also fueling these explanations is that authorities are also not helping the situation as they are not forthcoming with information as to what could be causing the fires.
Major causes of fire, especially in buildings, is mostly electrical faults. In some occasions the situation has been made worse by fuel which is kept indoors, either by those who sell in the black market or for personal use.
In the major fire incident, 32 people were tragically burnt beyond recognition when the bus they were travelling in burst into flames. Word is that one of the passengers was carrying a gas tank which exploded resulting in the fire.
Back to theorists, the most bizarre explanation was that the fires were caused by former president Robert Mugabe’s anger over his ouster a year ago.
Putting the pieces together, they questioned why these fires were causing havoc at a time when the country was marking a year since the coup, talk of people living under Mugabe’s shadow!