September 27 2017 – OPPOSITION parties in Zimbabwe, under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) on Wednesday warned that the socio-economic situation in the country was deteriorating to the levels previously seen in 2008.
“We are fast trending towards 2008. They [the government of Zimbabwe]are printing bond notes to bankroll their 2018 election campaign. Sad and ugly total chaos is in the making. [President Robert] Mugabe has threatened to unleash price controls, arrests, and so on but we remain convinced it will not work,” says Nera spokesperson Davis Junior Mukushwa.
Reports says the Zimbabwean government had engaged captains of industry and the RBZ resolve the problems that had triggered recent price increases and hoarding of products by consumers with
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha having held marathon meetings with representatives of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe and Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) and RBZ.
Dr Bimha, who was in the United States for the 72nd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly when prices sky- rocketed, said industrialists and retailers told him that consumers had only reacted to “unsubstantiated social media reports” and stampeded to bulk-buy products.
But NERA says t he economy had generally been performing badly ever since the introduction of the bond notes.
Bond notes are Zimbabwe’s own currency which had been trading at the equivalent of the US dollar.
Mukushwa said fearing the massive food shortages reminiscent of 2008, some Zimbabweans embarked on panic buying of food.
“The entire nation was thrown into a wave of panic buying that has never been witnessed in a non-hyperinflationary period. The pick of the wave was on Saturday, when tuckshops closed and supermarkets ran out of cooking oil,” said Mukushwa.
“By close of business [Saturday], cooking oil two litres was trading from $5 to $8, using the US dollar, bond notes or swipes. Inevitably, most products’ prizes went up. As we speak the inflationary trend is still upward, fuel shortages are worsening and items such as cooking oil continue to vanish from shop shelves.”
Mukushwa said the cash shortages continue to mount, sparking fear in the country. He said surprisingly, informal traders who mainly trade in forex, had a constant supply of cash. – ANA /additional reporting Herald