- 2The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce comprises of the following 13 Ministries and 6 Departments:
- Minister of Industry and Commerce (Chair);
- Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
- Minister of Tourism, Environment and Hospitality Industry;
- Minister of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development;
- Minister of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion,;
- Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services;
- Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
- Minister of Home Affairs;
- Minister of Water and Climate;
- Minister of Energy and Power Development;
- Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development;
- Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services;
- Minister of Youth Development, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment.
- Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe;
- Zimbabwe Economic Policy and Research Analysis Unit;
- National Economic Consultative Forum;
- Consumer Council of Zimbabwe;
1.3 The Taskforce worked in consultation with key stakeholders which included the private sector.
1.4 The Taskforce was guided by eight (8) specific Terms of Reference below:
- To critically review the products covered under Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, with a view to establishing any existing supply bottlenecks as well as the underlying reasons for the basic commodities shortages and/or the price increases thereof as from 23 September 2017.
- To come up with appropriate short, medium and long term policy interventions for addressing the production bottlenecks for key product value chains, on a sector by sector basis.
- To identify the value chains where local entrepreneurs have comparative advantage and can thus be encouraged to participate in including through joint venture arrangements with foreign investors, without compromising on quality.
- To come up with policy measures to enhance the performance of all exporting companies, regardless of their ownership, so as to boost foreign currency earnings, tax revenues and employment creation.
- To come up with measures to boost access to and enhance currency trading via formal market.
- To interrogate and reinforce the effectiveness of current strategies to enhance public confidence in the formal banking system.
- To suggest measures to plug the leakage of precious minerals, deal with the rampant market indiscipline and improve the acquittal of export receipts for the country.
- To formulate a robust communication strategy to effectively combat the negative effects of social media.
2.1.The Task Force established that the price hikes and supply bottlenecks of some essential commodities emanated from unsubstantiated social media messages insinuating that there will be shortages and price increases of basic and essential commodities.
- 2In carrying out its assignment, the Taskforce focused its work on 16 basic commodities identified as essential to the day to day needs and of common interest to the consumer. These are; cooking oil, mealie meal, bread, flour, sugar, rice, salt, chicken, eggs, beef, fresh milk, laundry soaps, washing powder, cement, fuel and energy.
- 1Following recommendations by the Taskforce, on 24 October 2017, Cabinet approved a raft of measures as summarised in Annex 1 attached. I am happy to report that some of the measures approved by Cabinet are already being implemented and these include;
- The publishing of recommended prices by manufacturers of basic commodities. Cooking oil manufacturers have already started publicising the recommended prices. Members of the public must have seen this in the press.
- I also wish to advise that with immediate effect, the manufacturers of the 16 identified products are expected to publish the recommended prices of their products fortnightly.
- In an effort to safeguard consumer rights, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe will also publish prices of basic commodities as they observe them through their regular surveys and intensify consumer education. The information on prices provided to the consumer will assist them to make informed decisions.
- Fast tracking the processing of the Consumer Protection Bill.
- Furthermore, Zimstat will publish their price monitoring surveys by the 15th of each month and are expected to conduct public awareness programmes on the identified essential products. As you are aware, Zimstat coverage of products goes beyond the 16 that we are talking about.
- The Competition and Tariff Commission has been instructed to be on the look out for collusive and anti-competitive behaviour, especially by companies that produce essential products and take necessary action.
- The National Economic Consultative Forum has been urged to spearhead dialogues and road shows throughout the country to enhance awareness.
- In order to ensure availability of raw materials for the edible oils, Government will support the acceleration of production of soya beans under both the Command Soya Bean Programme and the Presidential Input Support Scheme.
- In anticipation of the forthcoming festive season, my Ministry will allow importation of essential products where necessary to fill the gap.
- Those with access to free funds are encouraged to enter into toll manufacturing contracts that will result in increased production of essential products.
- My Ministry is working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure that the manufacturers of essential products are prioritised in foreign currency allocation to import raw materials.
- My Ministry is intensifying its coordination on price monitoring and surveillance by working together with the National Competitiveness Commission and Consumer Council of Zimbabwe. The price monitoring teams are expected to cover all wholesalers and retailers countrywide.
Foreign Currency Generation
- In order to increase foreign currency generation, Zimtrade is intensifying its export programmes working in tandem with the local manufacturers so that they also play their role in foreign currency generation.
- Manufacturers are expected to be outward looking and be aggressive in marketing their products and services beyond the borders of Zimbabwe.
- I recognize that the Monetary Authorities are already encouraging the use of electronic payments to address the multi-tier pricing system.
- Implementation of Statutory Instrument 122A of 2017 Exchange Control Regulations that regulates the illegal buying and selling of foreign currency.
- In conclusion, a robust programme on price monitoring will have to be implemented by all stakeholders and in particular the consumer has to exercise his or her rights by making informed decisions.
- I am therefore advising that the Ministry will shortly be availing a toll free number, as well as an interactive WhatsApp platform and E-mail address
6 November 2017