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THE government needs to work with business to improve the operating environment, according to Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president, Denford Mutashu.

Mutashu, whose organisation represents supermarkets, wholesalers and related enterprises, was speaking during a stakeholder interface called to discuss problems being faced by retailers and consumers in the wake of the COVID-19 scourge.

Businesses have also been affected by high inflation, foreign currency shortages and exchange rate volatilities.

“The government and business should continue to work together to improve prices and services, reduce the multiple effects of the exchange rate (crisis), the impact of parallel market, ” he said.

Retailers have been facing the challenge of buying products from manufacturers in foreign currency, then selling them in the free-falling local currency.

The volatility of the local currency has caused retailers to peg their prices in Zimbabwe dollar equivalent of United States dollars, hence the price instability.

Economist Reneth Mano said the increase in imports was unnecessary and increasing the pressure on the economy.

“There is no reason for us to be importing crude oil and cooking oil from all over the world and complain about enough money. Let us support our farmers in Makonde, Chiweshe and so forth because there are farmers all over the country,” said Mano.

He added that the nation should stop blaming the Russian-Ukraine war because some of the imported goods could be produced locally reducing the cost of imports.

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