THE National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) will continue to control prices of all goods and services despite the central bank’s advice that
they restrict their operations to controlled and monitored products, said commission chairman Godwills Masimirembwa.
In his monetary policy statement last week central bank governor, Gideon Gono, said the NIPC should confine itself to the three controlled and 16 monitored products.
“Our recommendation and advice is that the NIPC confines its operations around the three controlled products and the 16 nationally agreed products on the monitoring list, and not concern itself with tourism products, air travel, entertainment, beer and other product prices,” Gono said.
“Through this focused approach, the full machinery and expertise of NIPC will be concentrated for maximum beneficial impact, as opposed to the potential risk of this key institution being spread too thinly across too many products, regions and markets, in the end degenerating into a vehicle of disruptive distortions.”
Masimirembwa however told businessdigest in an interview this week that taking Gono’s advice will be tantamount to diverting from the commission’s mandate.
He said the NIPC will continue to control prices of all products and services because the “law is very clear about the commission’s mandate”.
“Statutory Instrument 142 of 2007 which was extended to June 30 this year gives the NIPC authority to manage pricing of every commodity,” Masimirembwa said.
“The NIPC will set prices for all commodities and all services though emphasis will be on the products in question, but we will not exclude other goods and services.”
“We as the NIPC are empowered to manage pricing of all commodities however among all products, 16 were identified as basics and three other as critical basic products,” he said.
The three controlled products are bread, mealie-meal and flour.
The 16 monitored goods include sugar, salt, cooking oil, beef, maize seed, fertiliser, coal, cement, agricultural chemicals, yeast, tyres, milk, stockfeed, packaging, drugs and agricultural implements.
Masimirembwa said the three controlled and 16 monitored products cannot be dealt with in isolation.
“There is need to look at the cost involved in coming up with a finished product. Other costs which the NIPC needs to consider are not on the list.”
“These include fuel which is vital in all sectors, electricity, water, rates, licence fees, and equipment that needs to be controlled because businesspeople are saying it is costing them a lot hence the need to hike prices.”
This is not the first time that Masimirembwa and Gono have clashed over prices.
Last year Gono had to intervene after Masimirembwa announced that his commission was planning another blitz on companies that were selling imported goods at higher prices.
They also clashed over the pricing of newspapers.