©️ UNDER pressure Finance minister Mthuli Ncube has once again admitted that the government is struggling to fix Zimbabwe’s deepening economic crisis, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the hapless Zim dollar, which Ncube ill-advisedly re-introduced last year, continues to plunge on the parallel market — causing the prices of basic consumer goods in the country to run amok.
It also comes after he recently wrote a letter to international financial institutions, in which he candidly admitted that the local economy was close to collapse.
In a briefing to Parliament last week, Ncube said the ever skyrocketing prices of basic goods in the country were a result of the plummeting local currency on the black market — adding that this was proving difficult to deal with.
“I would like to address the member who spoke about the skyrocketing prices … this madness that we are seeing in the price increases on a daily basis and also the parallel market going up … what I would like to say is that we are trying to arrest these price increases and we are also trying to investigate those who are doing that.
“Furthermore, we are seeing to it that the money changers are arrested and those using mobile platforms are arrested and made to pay fines. That is what the RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) is doing.
“We are really trying, but it is not easy because if people are used to doing something, it is not easy to stop them. We are, however, really trying,” Ncube said.
“I am sure you have also noticed that every time we arrest people and we close their accounts, the rate goes down, and that shows that there is something not right that they are doing. That is what we are trying to investigate,” he added.
Ncube also said the government would be appealing to business anew, in a bid to get them to reduce the prices of basic goods.
“The parallel market started moving up and again as usual. There is that high correlation between the parallel market and our pricing system in the retail sector, which kicked in and prices shot up again.
“As a mitigatory measure, we spoke to industry and we asked for a price moratorium. We had a handshake, but they have not been able to follow through.
“Perhaps they have their own pressures. I still urge that if we could have another handshake, it would be helpful and assist Zimbabweans to have this price moratorium while we go through this difficult time,” Ncube said.
He also said the RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit should do more to ensure that cash barons were brought to book.
“Members asked about the money changers and said we must do something about it. I guess this is a question which … has been asked in different ways.
“We are dealing with it. The other day I was very pleased when I saw that the central bank had acted on this young man who was flashing new Zimbabwean dollars and he was brought to book to make sure that this kind of thing does not happen.
“It is not encouraged that this should happen and also what they are doing in clamping down on other errant behaviour and we need more of it.
“The Financial Intelligence Unit has become more active of late and that is pleasing in terms of dealing with this kind of behaviour,” Ncube added.
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