Skyrocketing prices of basic commodities have hit the tourism sector, an industry official said.
This comes after a tax increase announced by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and the separation of RTGS and forex accounts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe triggered massive price increases.
The introduction of the two measures has resulted in carnage on the market characterised by a spiraling parallel market, skyrocketing prices and shortage of basic commodities as well as the temporary closure of some retail outlets. This has prompted the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions to call for demonstrations, against the imposition of the tax which they say is punitive. However police have banned the demonstration citing the cholera outbreak which has claimed at least 49 lives.
Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe CE Paul Matamisa told businessdigest on Wednesday that the tourism sector is “in shock” at the chaos created by the measures announced by monetary and fiscal authorities last week.
“As you are aware the tourism industry is affected by the value chain of suppliers. In that regard what is happening affects all of us. We are still in shock as it were but we will meet next week to establish what it is we should do,” Matamisa said. “Meanwhile, we are in the process of gathering data so that we have information that is factual. That is the situation pertaining in the tourism sector.”
He said the sector felt that Ncube had ambushed them as he had not sought any input from players in the sector.
“The intentions of the minister might have been honourable but I agree with those who say that this was an ambush,” Matamisa said. “This was a monetary policy and for the minister to come up with a fiscal policy at the same place without having discussed with the sector makes it feel like an ambush. We should have been given a chance to give our input as well.”
He said the development which he described as “bleak” flies in the face of government’s mantra that the country is open for business.
“It is going to affect the business mantra which government is driving that the country is open for business and people who wanted to come from outside the country will wait and see what impact this is going to have,” Matamisa pointed out. “Trade unions are agitating for demonstrations against the tax and this does not augur well for business. The situation is bleak and dismal and does not look promising. We have got a real challenge on our hands.”