Drive out touts, money changers

HARARE - Recent events in the country will leave anyone — including those outside Zimbabwe’s borders — having a rethink on our citizens’ claims to being one of the most literate nations on the continent.

No-one would doubt that things are so bad in the country but surely there is something that government can do urgently to protect the hapless citizen.

Finance minister Mtuli Ncube — outlining his Transitional Stabilisation Programme — announced that government would introduce a 2 percent tax on all electronic transactions.

Of course, the policy smacks of all the marks of unfairness given that Zimbabweans are the most heavily taxed in the region. Imposing another tax was a sign of desperation on the part of the cash-strapped and highly indebted government.


However, even before the tax was gazetted or operationalised, prices had gone up on several commodities, including commuter fares, as the domino effect of the policy announcement took effect.

While business has genuine concerns that are forcing them top increase the price of commodities, there are some — bent on profiteering — who have ambushed consumers and claim to have incurred unsubstantiated costs in bringing commodities to shop shelves.

Such unscrupulous businesspeople can not be let to get away with such demonic behaviour. In such case, government must surely protect the suffering public. If it means licences of those who increase prices without any justification are revoked, then so be it.

We have seen cases where bread — one of the basic commodities in the country — had its price adjusted upwards on the basis of the shortage of wheat.

That would be understandable but honestly when a retailer then increases the price to beyond the recommended $1.10 — even going as high as $2,00 per loaf, when he has acquired it for less than a dollar, then it is something else.

Commuter fares have been increased even though fuel prices have not gone up and touts are the main culprits in this mess. The towns and cities had acquired some measure of normalcy after vendors were driven out. Authorities must thus nab the touts and money changers.

If President Emmerson Mnangagwa is serious, he must simply put in place and enforce regulations that bar money changers and touts whether they are operating from the streets or from shopping centres in residential areas and rural settlements.

There is no way people can support policies — no matter how prudent — when they make them suffer perpetually. Order has to return as a matter of urgency.

Comments (1)

Nyangwe newewewo Staff Writer, ndiyo literacy yacho here inokuti ufunge kuti fuel is the only cost associated with running a commuter omnibus business? What about spare parts, tyres, lubricants and other service consumables, vehicle replacement costs (all in forex and directly affected by the rising exchange rate)?

Operator - 17 October 2018

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