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Monday, July 15, 2024

Rising prices of basic commodities cause for concern, says govt

Story by Oleen ndori

GOVERNMENT says it is seized with the issue of rising prices of basic commodities, with measures set to be put in place to protect consumers.

In a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare this Tuesday, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the government is looking at establishing a committee to look into the rise of prices of basic commodities, particularly bread, mealie meal, cooking oil and flour to protect the transacting public.

“The nation is being informed that Cabinet is concerned by the spiralling prices of the 14 basic goods, especially bread, flour, cooking oil and mealie-meal. The Minister of Industry and Commerce is already engaging the concerned stakeholders including manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and other associations on the matter. Given the urgency of the matter, Cabinet has set up a Committee to quickly investigate, monitor and make appropriate recommendations to Cabinet with a view to bringing sanity to the situation.

“The Committee will comprise the following Ministers: Industry and Commerce; Finance and Economic Development; and Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry and Commerce will issue an appropriate statement on the matter,” she said.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Sekai Nzenza said the committee will investigate, monitor and make recommendations with regards to the price hikes.

Cabinet also updated the nation regarding the state of grain stocks at the Grain Marketing Board, assuring the citizenry that the nation is food secure until the next harvesting period.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that current grain stocks held by the Grain Marketing Board comprise 220 000 metric tonnes of maize, 40 000 metric tonnes of traditional grains, and 160 000 metric tonnes of wheat. Millers and stockfeed manufacturers are being allocated 27 000 metric tonnes of maize and up to 7 000 metric tonnes of sorghum per month. All these stocks exclude private sector stocks, and the nation is food secure until the next harvest,” she added.

With the World Health Organisation declaring that COVID-19 is no longer a global emergency, Cabinet has with immediate effect scrapped the mandatory wearing of masks and the lifting of all border measures, among others.

“As the nation may recall, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a statement indicating that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Cabinet has directed as follows; that vaccination activities in all provinces should continue, with support from the Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, and their teams; that the mandatory wearing of face masks be lifted as the country adopts the strategy on the long-term management of the COVID-19 pandemic; that all border measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 be lifted with immediate effect; and that tourists should no longer be required to produce COVID-19 vaccination certificates at ports of entry or at tourist resorts around the country.”

The nation was also updated on the progress made so far in the resuscitation of Ziscosteel.

Cabinet also gave updates on the 100 Day Cycle Projects, tobacco selling season, summer cropping season and the successful engagements by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on the sidelines of the coronation of King Charles III at the weekend.

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