Pricing commission, business in war of words

A WAR of words has erupted between the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) and the business community as tensions between the two parties escalated this week.


The exchanges have seen the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) being blamed for fuelling Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.
The NIPC executive chairman Godwills Masimirembwa came under fire from the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) for making “uninformed” judgments.
CZI president Callisto Jokonya labelled Masimirembwa a liar and challenged him to prove his allegations.
“We don’t want people to lie like that, so we will not dignify his allegations with a response. We just challenge him to prove them, if he can do so,” said Jokonya.
The ZNCC president Marah Hativagone attacked Masimirembwa for making general “uninformed and unfounded” decisions.
“He simply does not want to acknowledge the obvious. Those are just general accusations and it is a blame game. Business is always blamed and yet we are hardly to blame with Masimirembwa proving himself wrong,” said Hativagone.
Masimirembwa had earlier accused the business community of abusing its foreign export proceeds and driving the parallel market rate higher by selling export proceeds to importers at parallel market rates.
“Businesses are not behaving properly in respect of export proceedings. They are abusing export retention schemes and by doing this, they are the biggest driver of inflation,” Masimirembwa said.
Masimirembwa described business as an organised crime syndicate colluding to push up the prices of commodities by hiking parallel market rates and hinted at a crackdown aimed at exporting businesses.
“The NIPC’s main concern is the abuse of export proceeds by selling them at parallel market rates to importers. If we crackdown on importers, the shops will dry up. We intend to look closely at exporters,” he said.
Hativagone said they blamed the RBZ instead and said RBZ governor Gideon Gono had admitted that the huge increases in money supply had dealt the economy a blow and allowed inflation to run amok.
“The (RBZ) governor himself said the huge increase in money supply is the major cause of inflation and the parallel market. What Masimirembwa said is wrong,” Hativagone said.

By Kuda Chikwanda

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