JOC takes over price controls

Constantine Chimakure



THE Joint Operations Command (JOC) has taken over the duties of the cabinet taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, the Zimbabwe Indepe

ndent
heard this week.


Impeccable sources said JOC, a national security think-tank made up of army, police, prisons and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) chiefs, had assumed the role of the cabinet taskforce in setting prices of goods and services.


The cabinet taskforce was appointed by government in June to ensure that prices of goods and services are justified with scientific pricing models and to stop the diversion of scarce goods from the formal to the black market. Minister of State for National Security Didymus Mutasa chairs JOC while Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono is sometimes invited to advise on economic issues.


The sources said President Robert Mugabe on September 18 summoned cabinet taskforce chairperson Obert Mpofu and his deputy Elliot Manyika and grilled them on their operations.


“The taskforce stopped operating the day Mpofu and Manyika were summoned by Mugabe. JOC is now responsible for price monitoring,” one of the sources said.


Apart from Mpofu and Manyika, the cabinet taskforce also included Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi, Small and Medium Enterprises minister Sithembiso Nyoni, Minister of State for Policy Implementation Webster Shamu and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi.


Others were Minister of State Enterprises and Anti-Monopolies Samuel Undenge and Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana.


The sources said JOC was summoning individual companies to negotiate new prices for goods and services.


Gono, the sources added, was the force behind the JOC move meant to ensure that firms operate viably while goods and services are made available at affordable prices.


Efforts to get a comment from Mpofu yesterday were in vain.


The cabinet taskforce was expected to ensure transparent and objective pricing mechanisms throughout the supply chain by applying scientific pricing models to all controlled goods and services.


The taskforce was also supposed to ensure that the appropriate regulations regarding the recently promulgated National Incomes and Pricing Commission Act were effectively enforced.