Govt to probe basic goods pricing

HARARE - Government is moving to operationalise the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) that will probe the cost structures and pricing of basic commodities, Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister Mike Bimha has said.

He said the move is part of a strategy to identify cost drivers and other factors affecting Zimbabwean businesses.

Bimha, who delivered the keynote address at the fourth Retailers and Wholesalers Indaba organised by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers in Harare yesterday, said the NCC, to be largely driven by the private sector, was already putting in place a secretariat.

“The NCC will be 90 percent private sector. A recommendation at Cabinet level was made that NCC should come together with producers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers to form a price harmonisation committee to unpack and influence policy on pricing of basic commodities within different value chains,” he said.

The Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development minister is convinced that the advent of the NCC will have a positive impact on the economy.

“It is our hope that eventually input costs will be lowered to allow businesses to enjoy economic profits and that the benefits will also be shared with consumers.

“Furthermore, it is imperative to note that high output at low input costs as a result of specialisation of work, machines, plants and firms is a good recipe for industrial growth. These efforts will result in more new businesses as they promote innovation,” said Bimha.

In addition to the NCC, Bimha told the indaba organised by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers that a draft consumer protection act would soon be brought before Cabinet and Parliament.

“This piece of legislation will provide for the empowerment of the existing courts to address and resolve consumer disputes and establishment of other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, provide for regulation of consumer organisations, repeal the Consumer Contracts Acts and provide for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto,” the minister said.

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